Permanent Under Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service from 1 September 2015

Sir Simon McDonald KCMG KCVO

Biography

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.

Sir Simon joined the British Diplomatic Service in 1982 and has served in Jeddah, Riyadh, Bonn, Washington and Tel Aviv, and in a wide range of jobs in London.

He took up his position as British Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany in October 2010. In that role he leads the embassy in Berlin and the 2 consulates-general in Düsseldorf and Munich. He had an earlier posting to Germany between 1988 and 1990 when he was at the British Embassy Bonn as Second Secretary (Economic).

Before becoming ambassador in Berlin, Sir Simon served as the Prime Minister’s Foreign Policy Adviser and Head of Foreign and Defence Policy in the Cabinet Office from 2007 to 2010. From 2003 to 2006 he was British Ambassador to Israel.

He was appointed Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in 2014.

Permanent Under Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service from 1 September 2015

The Permanent Under Secretary is responsible for advising the Foreign Secretary and the ministerial team on foreign policy, and for managing the FCO. He chairs the FCO Board and is also Head of the Diplomatic Service.

Previous roles in government

  1. British Ambassador to Germany,

    • 2010 to 2015