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Speaking at Home Office questions in the Commons, Theresa May said: "He has experienced the service evolving over the years and as Director General has lead the service through particularly challenging times of change and unrest, including the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings.
"His tireless work helped ensure the delivery of a safe and successful Olympic and Paralympic Games last year.
"I commend and thank him for his invaluable contribution to public safety and national security."
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: "We also give thanks for the work Sir Jonathan Evans has done over many years for the security of this country."
Outgoing MI5 chief Jonathan Evans was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in January after a long career dedicated to fighting terrorism.
The Security Service director general took the top job almost six years ago at a time of unprecedented public focus on the agency in the wake the 9/11 attacks in the United States and the July 7th Tube bombings in London in 2005.
Sir Jonathan said at the time: "It's a privilege to lead MI5 and I view this honour as a recognition of the significant contribution by the men and women of the Security Service in securing the Olympics this year and the country every year."
Sir Jonathan Evans is to step down as head of MI5 at the end of his contract term next month.
- Evans worked with the Security Service for 33 years
- He became Director General in April 2007, succeeding Lady Manningham-Buller
- A 2010 report revealed he earned nearly £160,000 a year
- He studied Latin and Greek at Bristol University
Sir Jonathan Evans is to step down as head of MI5 next month, Home Secretary Theresa May told MPs today.