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Sir John Sawers's Biography

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Sir John Sawers was born on 26 July 1955 in Warwick.

He attended Beechen Cliff School in Bath and the University of Nottingham, where he studied Physics and Philosophy. He then furthered his studies at the universities of St Andrews, Witwatersrand and Harvard.

Sir John Sawers joined the Foreign Office in 1977. His various postings included the Middle East and he worked in South Africa from 1988 to 1991.

From 1991, Sir John Sawers was head of the EU Presidency Unit. His subsequent roles included being Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 1993 to 1995.

After a stint in the USA, Sawers became the foreign affairs private secretary to the then prime minister Tony Blair from 1999 to 2001.

He then became Ambassador to Egypt, followed by Special Representative for Iraq, and the Political Director of the Foreign Office from 2003 to 2007.

In 2007 Sir John Sawers was appointed the UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

On 16 June 2009 the government announced that Sawers was to be the new chief of MI6, taking over from Sir John Scarlett in November 2009.

Sir John Sawers is the first person from outside MI6 to become 'C' since Sir John Rennie in 1968. It has been reported that Sir John, has however spent a few years in MI6 after 1997.

His recreations include the theatre, hiking, riding, tennis and cycling. His wife, Shelley, whom he married in 1981, is a teacher. They have three children.

His honours include the KCMG in 2007 and the CMG in 1996.

Sir John Sawers has been a governor of The Ditchley Foundation.

On 5 July 2009, The Mail on Sunday revealed that Sir John's wife Lady Sawers had published intimate photographs and family details on Facebook. The Foreign Secretary David Miliband dismissed the significance of the revelations telling Andrew Marr on his BBC1 show: "It is not a state secret that he [Sir John Sawers] wears Speedo swimming trunks."

In October 2010, Sir John Sawers became the first ever serving MI6 head to make a public speech, when he addressed the Society of Editors.

In June 2014, it was announced that Sir John Sawers was to step doen as chief of the Secret Intelligence Service in November after five years at the helm.


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