John Rennie (MI6 officer)

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John Rennie

Born13 January 1914
Died30 September 1981(1981-09-30) (aged 67)
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford
OccupationIntelligence officer
Spouse(s)Jennifer Margaret Wainwright
ChildrenDavid Rennie
Spying career
AllegianceUnited Kingdom Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
ServiceSecret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI6)
RankChief of the Secret Intelligence Service

Sir John Ogilvy Rennie, KCMG (13 January 1914 – 30 September 1981) was the 6th Director of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) from 1968 to 1973.


Educated at Wellington College and Balliol College, Oxford, Rennie joined an advertising agency in New York City in 1935.[1] During World War II he worked at an organisation in Baltimore combating German propaganda.[1]

In 1946 he joined the Foreign Office and was posted to Washington D.C. and then to Warsaw.[1] In 1953 he was appointed Head of the Information Research Department, a controversial body established to disseminate information about the dangers of Soviet-style communism.[1] During the Suez Crisis he chaired a committee established to disseminate British propaganda in the Middle East.[1] He was posted to Buenos Aires in 1958 and Washington D.C. in 1960.[1] He served on the Civil Service Commission in 1966.[1] Then in 1968 he was appointed Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service.[1]

On 15 January 1973, Rennie's son Charles Tatham Ogilvy Rennie, and his daughter-in-law were arrested for an alleged involvement in the importation of large quantities of heroin from Hong Kong.[1] Rennie resigned not long afterwards.[1]

Another son is The Economist columnist David Rennie.

He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1967.[1]


Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Dick White
Chief of the SIS
Succeeded by
Sir Maurice Oldfield