Reference list

Chiefs of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) (1909–2008)

The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) was founded in October 1909 as the foreign section of the Secret Service Bureau. The service was established to counter German espionage in the UK and was initially headed by the naval officer Captain Mansfield Cumming and Vernon Kell, a captain in the South Staffordshire regiment.

Cumming and Kell divided the service's responsibilities into separate organizations: the former (which became known as the SIS from about 1920, and more commonly as MI6) focused on intelligence gathering overseas; the latter (which in 1931 became the Security Service, also known as MI5) on countering foreign espionage within the United Kingdom. It was Cumming's habit of signing himself MC or C that gave rise to the practice of identifying later chiefs by this short name.
1909–1923Sir Mansfield George Smith Cumming (1859–1923)
1923–1939Sir Hugh Francis Paget Sinclair (1873–1939)
1939–1952Sir Stewart Graham Menzies (1890–1968)
1953–1956Sir John Alexander Sinclair (1897–1977)
1956–1968Sir Dick Goldsmith White (1906–1993)
1968–1973Sir John Ogilvy [Jack] Rennie (1914–1981)
1973–1978Sir Maurice Oldfield (1915–1981)
1979–1982Sir Arthur Temple [Dick] Franks (1920–2008)
1982–1985Sir Colin Frederick Figures (1925–2006)
1985–1989Sir Christopher Keith Curwen (b. 1929)
1989–1994Sir Colin Hugh Verel MacColl (b. 1932)
1994–1999Sir David Rolland Spedding (1943–2001)
1999–2004Sir Richard Billing Dearlove (b. 1945)
2004–[2009]Sir John McLeod Scarlett (b. 1948)