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."
More top news
Top Gear co-host James May takes up recorder and posts musical videos online as he fills his time during his 'unemployment'.
The father of a British victim of the Germanwings disaster has urged airlines to take action to look after pilots "properly".
David and Samantha Cameron have been filmed speaking about their trips to hospital with son Ivan, in a rare move for the couple.