Sir John Scarlett

Sir John Scarlett served as Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) from August 2004 to October 2009. He joined SIS in 1971 and over the next 20 years served in Nairobi, Paris and twice in Moscow as well as several assignments in London covering the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.  His second time in Moscow (1991–1994) coincided with the end of the USSR and the early years of the Russian Federation.  In early September 2001 he retired from SIS on appointment as Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee in the Cabinet Office.  He rejoined SIS as Head of the Service in 2004.

Sir John was born in 1948 in London and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where, in 1970, he was awarded First Class Honours in Modern History. Since leaving SIS he has become a Senior Advisor at Morgan Stanley.  He is Chairman of the Strategic Advisory Committee at Statoil and a member of the Advisory Boards at Swiss Re and PwC.  He is a Director of Times Newspaper Holdings, Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of Exeter, Chairman of the Bletchley Park Trust and Trustee of the Imperial War Museum.  Other trusteeships include the Royal Medical Foundation of Epsom and the Friends of the French Institute, London.

Sir John was appointed OBE (Officer of the British Empire) in 1987, CMG (Commander of St Michael and St George) in 2001 and KCMG in 2007.  In 2011 Sir John was appointed Officier of the Légion d’Honneur.

Sir John says: “Good policy making is ever more important for our country in an increasingly complex world.  Good policy depends upon effective strategic thinking.  The University of Exeter’s Strategy and Security Institute will be well placed to encourage high quality strategy development in the UK”.