Sir John Sawer's remarkable diplomatic career spans more than 30 years and a range of distinguished and varied roles. He began his career with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, working in Yemen and Syria followed by a posting to South Africa from 1988-1991 during the first part of the transition from apartheid.
From 1995-1998 Sir John was based in the USA, spending a year as an International Fellow at Harvard University before joining the British Embassy in Washington where he headed the team dealing with foreign and defence policy issues. He then became Foreign Affairs Adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair, followed by two years in the Middle East as Ambassador to Cairo and the British Government's Special Representative in Baghdad for three months.
From 2003-2007 he was Political Director at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he advised the Foreign Secretary and was particularly closely involved in policy on Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans.
From 2007-2009 he was Britain's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. In June 2009, he left this post to take up his career crowning role as Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6. Sawers retired from the role after five successful years in November 2014.