Colin McColl

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Person.png Colin McColl   PowerbaseRdf-icon.png
(Spook, Diplomat)
Colin McColl has appeared in public, but refused to be photographed
Born Colin Hugh McColl
1 July 1925
Died 8 December 2006 (Age 81)
Nationality British
Alma mater Oxford University/Queen's College
Head of MI6

Employment.png Advisory Board Member

In office
1998 - Present
Employer ManTech International Corporation
serving as of 2001

Employment.png Advisory Director of Campbell Lutyens

In office
1995 - Present
serving as of 2001

Employment.png Consultant

In office
1994 - Present
Employer Oxford Analytica Limited
serving as of 2001

Employment.png Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
November 1988 - September 1994
Deputy Gerry Warner
Preceded by Christopher Curwen
Succeeded by David Spedding
Chosen "to give a more dynamic lead as someone prepared to instigate change."

MI6 Career

Sir Colin McColl was chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) from November 1988[1] - September 1994.[2] The New York Times reported that he was named to head the Secret Intelligence Service in 1989 by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.[3]

On 2 September 1991, addressing new SIS recruits beginning their training course, McColl confidently assured them of plenty of "unpredictability and instability" in the post-Cold War era.[4]


McColl was the subject of an internal investigation and was ‘outed’ by the UK Prime Minister John Major who in May 1992 announced in Parliament that McColl was indeed the head of the Security Services.[5]

1994 Intelligence Services Bil

In November 1993, as the 1994 Intelligence Services Bill was threatening to put the UK "intelligence services" on a statutory footing, he "emerged from the shadows for the first time" to reassure MI6 officers, stating that "I am very anxious I give some sort of signal (to MI6 agents abroad) that we are not going to open up our files, we are not going to allow ourselves to be undressed in public with their names as part of our baggage". He refused to be photographed, as the Independent put it, to "reassure agents in the field that their identities would be protected".[6] McColl left MI6 a month before the bill came into force.

Later Activities

Sir Colin McColl has put his experience in the field of international espionage and "national security" to use in a variety of institutions, both commercial and non-commercial. In 1994 he became "a consultant for Oxford Analytica, an international consulting firm, focusing on political and economic affairs."[7]

He was also a director of the Scottish American Investment Trust at some point, and was chairman of two charitable trusts involving education for disadvantaged children and assistance for foreign service retirees.[8][9]

In 1998 he became Advisory Board Member for the ManTech International Corporation (a multi-billion dollar "provider of technologies and solutions for mission-critical national security programs for the Intelligence Community, Departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security and Justice, and other United States federal government agencies").[7]

He was made an honorary fellow of The Queen's College, Oxford.


  1. Stephen Dorril, MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, Touchstone, 2002, p.753.
  2. Team, Campbell Lutyens, accessed 26 July 2009.
  7. a b