Birthday Honours: Knighthood for Cabinet Office perm sec Alex Chisholm

Public appointments commissioner William Shawcross, SIS chief Richard Moore and second perm secs among high-profile recipients
Alex Chisholm. Photo: Cabinet Office

By Jim Dunton

16 Jun 2023

Cabinet Office permanent secretary Alex Chisholm has been awarded a knighthood in King Charles III’s first Birthday Honours list.

Chisholm, who has held his current posts since April 2020, is made Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in recognition of his public service. He was previously permanent secretary at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The perm sec, who is also chief operating officer of the civil service, chose not to comment directly on his new knighthood, but said he was “very pleased to see so many Cabinet Office staff recognised for public service”.

Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service – better known as MI6 – Richard Moore also receives a knighthood, in recognition of his “outstanding contribution” to British foreign policy during an “exceptionally challenging period” that has seen Europe’s first major conflict since the Second World War.

William Shawcross, who was a controversial choice as public appointments commissioner in 2021 because of his previous comments about Islam, is knighted for public service.

Sir Simon Gass, who is chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee at the Cabinet Office, is made a grand commander of the Order of St Michael and St George. Gass has previously served as HM ambassador to Iran, political director at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and as the prime minister’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Six senior civil servants become Companions of the Bath, one rank below a damehood or knighthood in the Order of the Bath. They are: Department of Health and Social Care second perm sec Shona Dunn; Government Actuary Martin Clarke; Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities director general for regeneration Emran Mian; Adrian Duncan Baguley, deputy chief executive and director-general for strategic enablers, Defence Equipment and Support; Philip Duffy, director-general for growth and productivity at HM Treasury; and Clive Maxwell, second perm sec at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. Maxwell was previously director general for High Speed Rail at the Department for Transport.

The 2023 Birthday Honours name more than 1,000 people credited with making outstanding contributions to the UK, including those who supported Operation London Bridge following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Famous names getting recognition include the author Ian McEwan, novellist and poet Ben Okri, Vogue editor-in-chief Dame Anna Wintour, director and producer Stephen Frears, and broadcaster Davina McCall.

McEwan and Wintour are made Companions of Honour; Okri and Frears receive knighthoods and McCall recieves an MBE. There is also a posthumous knighthood for author Martin Amis, who died last month. 

Click here for a full list of civil servants who have received honours.

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