Sir John was born in 1948 in London and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where, in 1970, he was awarded First Class Honors in Modern History. Since leaving SIS he has become a Senior Advisor at Morgan Stanley. He is a member of a number of Advisory Boards including Statoil, Swiss Re, and PwC. He is a Director of Times Newspaper Holdings, Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), Trustee of the Imperial War Museum, and Chairman of the Bletchley Park Trust. Other Trusteeships include the Royal Medical Foundation of Epsom.
Sir John was appointed OBE (Officer of the British Empire) in 1987, CMG (Commander of St Michael and St George) in 2001 and KCMG in 2007.