Smiling broadly, future MI5 chief Ken McCallum is having a drink with the team members of the hockey club, who have prophetically nicknamed him “007”.
This exclusive photo of Mr. McCallum, soon to become the youngest Director General of the Internal Security Service, was taken in the 1990s when he was in his early 20s and captained Hillhead Men’s Hockey Club in Glasgow.
The career spy, who has worked for MI5 for 25 years and oversaw the investigation into the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal in Russia in 2018, will take up his new role later this month.
This exclusive photo of Mr. McCallum, soon to become the youngest Director General of the Internal Security Service, was taken in the 1990s when he was in his early 20s and captained the Hillhead Men’s Hockey Club in Glasgow
When its promotion was announced last week, the agency released only limited information about its life for security reasons. Even his age is a secret, with MI5 only saying he’s in his mid-forties.
But The Mail on Sunday has discovered that he grew up in Broomhill, an affluent area in the West End of Glasgow, where he attended a public school. He then went to the University of Glasgow to study mathematics and computer science. It was as a student that he played hockey.
When its promotion was announced last week, the agency released only limited information about its life for security reasons. Even his age is a secret, with MI5 only saying he’s in his mid-forties
Club members said that he led the team in tournaments in Scotland and England and that, as our clubhouse photos show, he also liked to socialize.
Teammates said he was considered a “natural leader” even then, and few doubted he was destined for “great things” in the future.
Alan Meikle, who is now a club coach, said they “always joked that he was 007”. He declined to continue, but it is likely that Mr. McCallum – known to everyone at the club as “Kenny” – was applying for government jobs in London at the time the photo was taken.
Another teammate, Geoff Duke, who is now serving as club secretary, said: “He was a very nice guy and had a lot of friends. You could tell he was destined to do it right somewhere. We just didn’t expect it to be as spectacular, or in that particular area. ‘
In a statement, the club said, “Hillhead Men’s Hockey Club was delighted to read about the promotion of one of their former members, Kenny McCallum, at the head of MI5. A popular member and 1st XI captain in the 1990s, it’s no surprise to those who played under Kenny to see him rise to the top of his profession at such a young age. ”
According to insiders, Mr. McCallum was recruited by MI5 talent spotters when, after graduating with a first-class honors, he signed up to participate in the civil service’s accelerated program.
He started as an intelligence officer in Northern Ireland in 1995, where he spent ten years, and his advance through the ranks continued on his return to London, where he led security operations for the 2012 Olympics.
In April 2017, a month after the terrorist attack in Westminster Bridge that killed five people, he was appointed Deputy Director General of MI5 and oversaw the investigation of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, now 68, and his daughter Yulia , 35, in Salisbury, which led to the identification of the suspected Russian agents behind the attack.
Mr. McCallum’s cybersecurity expertise is considered a key factor in his new appointment.
A security source said the new chief is expected to engage private technology companies to help MI5 fight Islamist terrorism and hostile states such as Russia and China.
“Ken has extensive experience, but he is very forward-looking,” said the source.
“He has a passion for technology and how technology can help tackle an evolving threat.”
He was appointed Deputy Director General of MI5 and oversaw the investigation of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, now 68, and his daughter Yulia, 35, in Salisbury, which led to the identification of suspected Russian agents behind the attack. . Emergency services are shown on site