MI6 Names Richard Moore as New Chief
Richard Moore. (Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth office/website)

MI6 Names Richard Moore as New Chief

Britain’s MI6 Secret Intelligence Service, which counters terrorist threats from overseas, announced Richard Moore, a former ambassador to Turkey, as its new chief.

The 57-year-old will be known as ‘C’, a role made famous by the James Bond movies. He is due to take up the position in the fall.

Moore, who was a senior official at the Foreign Office, studied at Oxford University and Harvard. He lists his interests as golf, hiking, scuba-diving, Turkish carpets and porcelain and visiting historical sites. He was born in Libya and speaks fluent Turkish.

He will take over the role from Alex Younger and inherits an agency which has had to shift its focus from Islamist-based counter-terrorism to focus on threats from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. He will also defend his department’s interests in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s security and defense review.

Currently holding a senior role in the Foreign Office, Moore is a former MI6 employee, having served in the U.K. and overseas. He was “pleased and honored to be asked to return to lead my service.”

Moore had been the top U.K. representative in Turkey for nearly four years when a group within Turkey’s military tried unsuccessfully to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He was quick to understand how precarious and abandoned Erdogan felt in the wake of the attempted coup.

Understands Turkey

He arranged for a prominent government minister to visit Ankara only days after the failed putsch to show solidarity. It was a gesture that paid off and boosted Britain’s political capital in Turkey, while other Western capitals that had looked the other way were viewed with suspicion.

Moore was a well-liked figure in the diplomatic circuit in Ankara. His wife, Maggie, was visually impaired and something of a local celebrity in the Turkish capital for her work to raise more guide dogs for blind people.

“This is an excellent appointment,” Tom Tugendhat, chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a tweet. Moore “has huge experience in working with important allies. I look forward to seeing our strategy evolve and grow.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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