FAA pilot announced as new 1st Sea Lord
Following a 43-year career with the Royal Navy, Sir Mark Stanhope is to stand down as First Sea Lord in April and will hand over the baton to Admiral Sir George Zambellas. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond today, 24 January, made the announcement that Admiral Zambellas will succeed Sir Mark as the Chief of the Naval Staff.
Sir Mark has been head of the Senior Service since July 2009. In a career which began in 1970, the submariner commanded two boats – Orpheus and Splendid – then frigate HMS London and carrier HMS Illustrious. After two years as Commander-in-Chief Fleet, he then succeeded Admiral Sir Jonathon Band as First Sea Lord.
Sir George joined the Royal Navy in 1980 and is a former helicopter pilot who has also commanded three ships – minehunter Cattistock, and frigates Chatham and Argyll. He was in also in charge of the Royal Navy’s amphibious task force and oversaw the introduction of HMS Albion and Bulwark into the fleet. He and his staff supported Operation Highbrow, the evacuation of civilians from the Lebanon, in July 2006. Most recently he was Fleet Commander – the second most senior post in the RN – until November 2011 and is currently Commander Allied Maritime Command (Northwood) for NATO.
As the First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, Adm Zambellas is the Royal Navy's professional head and Chairman of the Navy Board. He is responsible to Secretary of State for the fighting effectiveness, efficiency and morale of the Naval Service, and supports the Secretary of State in the management and direction of the Armed Forces. As a member of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, he advises on maritime strategy and policy, and has a collective responsibility for providing strategic direction to the department, managing performance and ensuring that Defence delivers the required outputs.
He takes over from Sir Mark at a time when there are numerous changes in post in the upper echelons of the MOD as announced by Mr Hammond.
Air Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford will take over as the head of the RAF from Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton in July; Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach will become Vice Chief of the Defence Staff in May 2013; and an announcement on the new Chief of the Defence Staff to take over from General Sir David Richards will be made next month.