Press release

Appointment of new Permanent Under Secretary to the FCO

UK Ambassador to Germany Sir Simon McDonald appointed as Permanent Under Secretary to the Foreign Office.

Sir Simon McDonald has been appointed as the new Permanent Under Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and will take up the role in September.

He will replace Sir Simon Fraser who is stepping down from the post. Sir Simon McDonald, who is currently British Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, was chosen following a civil service–wide competition. The appointment was made by the Foreign Secretary.

The Foreign Secretary said:

I congratulate Simon McDonald on his appointment as Permanent Under Secretary for the Foreign Office. His wealth of experience and commitment to the Foreign Office means he is well placed to lead the organisation through a challenging time internationally.

The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, said:

I would like to offer my congratulations to Simon on his appointment as the Permanent Under Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service, FCO. His extensive diplomatic experience, strong policy development and communication skills will enable him to lead the FCO successfully through the policy and financial challenges ahead. I am very much looking forward to working with him.

On his appointment as PUS at the FCO, Sir Simon McDonald said:

I am honoured; I have worked for the Diplomatic Service for 33 years and it is a privilege now to lead it. My immediate foreign policy priorities are the EU renegotiation, Russia/Ukraine, countering extremism, boosting trade and inward investment and keeping our citizens safe overseas. I look forward to the challenge.

Further information

Full name: Sir Simon McDonald
2010 - 2015 HM Ambassador, Berlin
2007 - 2010 Foreign Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister & Head of Foreign and Defence Policy, Cabinet Office
2006 – 2007 Director, Iraq, FCO
2003 – 2006 HM Ambassador, Tel Aviv
2001 – 2003 Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary, FCO
1998 – 2001 DHM, Counsellor and Consul-General, British Embassy, Riyadh
1995 – 1998 First Secretary, British Embassy, Washington DC
1993 – 1995 Private Secretary to the PUS, FCO
1990 – 1993 Foreign Secretary’s Speech-writer, FCO
1988 – 1990 Second Secretary (Economic), British Embassy, Bonn
1985 – 1988 Third Secretary (later Second Secretary), British Embassy, Jeddah (later Riyadh)
1983 – 1985 Arabic language training, SOAS & UKAS
1982 – 1983 Entered FCO. Benelux desk officer, WED, FCO

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