Director General

Director General

MI5 Director General Ken McCallumMI5 is headed by the Director General, currently Ken McCallum. 

The Director General is responsible for: 

  • the operations and efficiency of MI5 
  • making an annual report on our work to the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister 
  • ensuring that we are politically impartial 
  • ensuring we obtain and disclose information only in accordance with our statutory responsibilities

These responsibilities are set out in law, in the Security Service Act 1989

Find out more about the laws governing MI5’s work

The Director General is the only avowed member of MI5, which means they are the only member whose identity is publicly disclosed. Very occasionally, they will speak in public to talk about the national security threats the UK is facing, what MI5 is doing in response, and what we can all do to keep ourselves safe. You can find details of recent speeches in the news section of this website.

Current Director General of MI5

 Ken McCallum is the current Director General of MI5. 

Ken is an MI5 officer with more than 25 years of experience across the full spectrum of our organisation's national security and intelligence work. 

His first ten years were focussed on Northern Ireland-related terrorism. Senior operational roles in countering Islamist extremist terrorism followed, as well as a period leading our early cyber security work, where he expanded MI5 engagement with the private sector. 

In 2012, Ken took charge of all counter terrorism investigations and risk management in the run-up to, and during, the London Olympics. After the Games, he embarked on a secondment at what was then known as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills leading on digital issues, building his experience beyond the national security domain. Following his return to MI5 he retained links to the wider public sector, serving for three years as a Non-Executive Director on the board of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. 

In 2015, Ken took on the role of Director General of Strategy in MI5, focussing on shaping new legislation, MI5's finances and further deepening MI5's partnerships with the UK’s other intelligence agencies, SIS and GCHQ. 

Ken was appointed Deputy Director General of MI5 in 2017, with responsibility for all MI5's operational and investigative work. Ken led MI5's strategic response to the 2017 terrorist attacks and to the 2018 attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal. 

Ken was appointed Director General in April 2020. 

He grew up in Glasgow, and holds a degree in Mathematics from the University of Glasgow. Outside of work, his time is filled by a busy and active family life. 

There have been 18 directors general of MI5 since the post was created in 1909. 

Find out more about former Directors General