Sir Simon, 56, who joined the FCO in 1979, is also a former Permanent Secretary in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. He has specialised in Europe, international economic policy and the Middle East. He served in Baghdad, Damascus, Paris and Brussels.
Sir Simon said:
It has been a tremendous honour to lead the Foreign and Commonwealth Office over five exciting and demanding years. I feel that this is the right time to stand down and to allow someone else to guide the organisation through the coming phase under the next Government. I pay tribute to the dedicated and skilled staff of the FCO who give such outstanding service to our country every day in all corners of the world. I am also pleased to have been able to contribute to the wider leadership of the Civil Service in my time at BIS and the FCO.
Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood said:
Simon has been a great, reforming Civil Service leader, first at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and then for five years at the Foreign Office. He has taken the FCO to new levels of efficiency, effectiveness and openness and will leave a lasting legacy of diplomatic excellence and a much stronger commercial orientation. I would like to thank him for his outstanding contribution.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:
I would like to thank Simon for taking the helm at a challenging time, playing a particularly important role in reinvigorating the Foreign Office with a strong focus on diplomatic excellence. Thanks to his strong personal leadership, he leaves the organisation in good shape for his successor, ready to face the future with confidence.
A successor will be selected after the Election.