He is presumably now in the process of being briefed, to take over this role, when the present incumbent Sir John Scarlett retires in November.
Sir John Sawers is currently the United Kingdom's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.
However, according to The Times: Outsider Sir John Sawers appointed new head of MI6
Despite the fact that Sir John is not a current MI6 employee he did begin his career with the espionage agency, serving in Yemen and Syria. He then switched to the Diplomatic Service in the mid-1980s, following a more conventional path as a British envoy, and was appointed political director of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2003. From 1999 to 2001 he was the foreign affairs adviser to Tony Blair.
On the positive side is his having studied Physics and Philosophy at a non-Oxbridge University, rather than subjects like history or the law etc., usually taken by Whitehall mandarins at Cambridge or Oxford.
On the negative side is his apparent political closeness to Tony Blair.
[UPDATE this blog post was temporarily unpublished, in error, and in the meantime, Charles Crawford has published his positive views about his friend Sir John Sawers, Superspy]
Will Sir John Sawers make any of the necessary changes in the running of SIS/MI6, which is still far too secretive and hard to contact via the internet, compared with their foreign rivals, and even compared with their sister agencies in the United Kingdom e.g. the Security Service MI5 ?
Spy Blog has a few suggestions in this regard, which the people at Vauxhall Cross SIS HQ are welcome to have (for free) - - contact us through email etc.