Jonathan Evans, Baron Evans of Weardale

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The Lord Evans of Weardale
Official portrait of Lord Evans of Weardale crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2019
Director General of MI5
In office
21 April 2007 – 22 April 2013
Home SecretaryJohn Reid
Jacqui Smith
Alan Johnson
Theresa May
Preceded byDame Eliza Manningham-Buller
Succeeded bySir Andrew Parker
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
9 December 2014
Life Peerage
Personal details
Born1958 (age 64–65)
Alma materUniversity of Bristol
OccupationIntelligence officer
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Years of service1980–2013
RankDirector General

Jonathan Douglas Evans, Baron Evans of Weardale, KCB, DL (born 1958[1]) is a British life peer who formerly served as the Director General of the British Security Service, the United Kingdom's domestic security and counter-intelligence service. He took over the role on the retirement of his predecessor Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller on 21 April 2007. Evans was succeeded by Andrew Parker on 22 April 2013.

Early life[edit]

Evans was educated at Sevenoaks School and Bristol University where he read classical studies.[2][3]

Career at MI5[edit]

Evans joined the Security Service in 1980, and initially worked in counter espionage.[4] In 1985 he moved to the protective security function, dealing with internal and personnel security, before switching to domestic counter-terrorism in the late 1980s.[4] For more than a decade he was involved with the effort to combat the domestic threat of groups such as the Provisional IRA during The Troubles. In 1999, with the violence in Northern Ireland greatly reduced due to the Good Friday Agreement, Evans moved to G-Branch,[5] the section of MI5 which deals with international terrorism. There he became an expert on al-Qaeda[6] and other branches of Islamic terrorism. He rose to head the section in 2001 (only a few days before the September 11, 2001 attacks), a position which put him on the service's board of management. In 2005, he became Deputy Director General before being promoted to head the organisation in 2007.[7]

In November 2007, Evans talked publicly about the threat the UK faces from digital espionage.[8] He spoke at RUSI on National Security in February 2008. He has a Certificate in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors. In July 2010, the government revealed Evans received an annual salary of £159,999.[9] In September 2010, Evans said that Anwar al-Awlaki was the West's Public Enemy No 1.[10] Al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone strike on 30 September 2011.[11]

Evans was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to defence.[12] Evans was succeeded by Andrew Parker on 22 April 2013.[13][14]

Life peer, fellowships and directorships[edit]

After retiring as Director General, Evans joined the Board of HSBC Holdings as a Non-Executive Director.[15] He is also a non-executive director of Ark Data Centres,[16][17] a Distinguished Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute[18] and an Honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews.[19] From 2014 to 2015 he was a non-executive director of the National Crime Agency.[20] He has written occasionally in the Sunday Times on classic cars.[21]

On 21 October 2014, it was announced that he was to become a Crossbench life peer, having been nominated personally by the Prime Minister.[22] He was created Baron Evans of Weardale, of Toys Hill in the County of Kent, on 3 December 2014.[23] In January 2015 he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Kent.[24] and on 1 November 2018 he was appointed Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life for a 5-year term.[25] In December 2018, following controversy about his paid business portfolio in light of his appointment to the committee, it was announced that he would step down from his position as a Non-Executive Director with HSBC Holdings in early 2019.[26]


  1. ^ EVANS Jonathan, World Who's Who (Europa Biographical Reference)
  2. ^ Administrator. "Iris Online". Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  3. ^ Andrew, Christopher (2009). The Defence of the Realm. Allen Lane. p. 806. ISBN 978-0-7139-9885-6.
  4. ^ a b Gordon Corera (7 March 2007). "From the Cold War to al-Qaeda". BBC News. Retrieved 7 March 2007.
  5. ^ Leppard, David (17 December 2006). "New MI5 boss is top expert on Al-Qaeda". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 7 March 2007.
  6. ^ Cobain, Ian (9 January 2007). "MI5 told MPs on eve of 7/7: no imminent terror threat". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 March 2007.
  7. ^ "MI5 deputy to take over as head". BBC News. 7 March 2007. Retrieved 7 March 2007.
  8. ^ "BBC NEWS - Business - MI5 warns over China spy threat". 2 December 2007. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  9. ^ "Quango chiefs' salaries revealed". BBC News. 2 July 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  10. ^ Peter Johnston (17 September 2010). "Anwar al Awlaki: the new Osama bin Laden?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
  11. ^ "Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki 'killed in Yemen'". BBC News. 30 September 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  12. ^ "No. 60367". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2012. p. 2.
  13. ^ "Appointment of the new Director General of the Security Service". Home Office. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  14. ^ "Director General". MI5. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  15. ^ "BBC News - HSBC appoints ex-MI5 chief Sir Jonathan Evans to board". 31 May 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  16. ^ "Ark Data Centres announces appointment of Jonathan Evans". Retrieved 16 September 2015.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ Evans, Peter (29 December 2019). "Boeing sues Ark Data Centres, where former MI5 boss is a director". Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Baron Evans of Weardale". RUSI. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  19. ^ "CSTPV - Jonathan Evans". Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  20. ^ "National Crime Agency - Resignation of non-executive director". Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  21. ^ Kerbaj, Richard; Rufford, Nick (28 April 2013). "The one thing Q wouldn't give me". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  22. ^ "Press Notice: Peerages conferred". Prime Minister's Office. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  23. ^ "No. 61068". The London Gazette. 8 December 2014. p. 23622.
  24. ^ "No. 61120". The London Gazette. 6 February 2015. p. 1094.
  25. ^ "Prime Minister appoints new committee chairs". Cabinet Office. 25 October 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  26. ^ "Former MI5 chief Lord Evans to step down from HSBC board". Sky News. Retrieved 12 January 2019.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by Director General of MI5
Succeeded by
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen
Baron Evans of Weardale
Followed by
The Lord Lisvane