Sir Kim Darroch was handed one of the most prestigious jobs in the diplomatic service several months before Donald Trump’s shock ascendancy to the White House.
But his name soon rose to prominence in the public arena after the president’s election victory – when Mr Trump promptly called for Nigel Farage to be the UK’s man in Washington instead.
In a highly unusual intervention, the president declared in a late-night tweet that Mr Farage would do a “great job” and that “many people” wanted to see him as the UK’s ambassador in the US.
Number 10 was forced to insist there was “no vacancy” and praised Sir Kim for being an “excellent ambassador”.
In his first interview after the controversy, Sir Kim hailed Mr Trump’s “historic and impressive” election victory and called the so-called special relationship between the US and the UK “stronger than ever”.
“It is the greatest alliance the world has ever known.” Wholeheartedly agree with President Trump’s characterisation of the UK-US relationship. This visit demonstrates that, and shows that there is still more that we can do to make it even stronger! pic.twitter.com/25VSOWvM8v
— Kim Darroch (@KimDarroch) June 4, 2019
The diplomat had earlier hit the headlines when, shortly after Mr Trump’s election win, the Sunday Times reported on a secret memo in which Sir Kim apparently suggested the UK could exploit Mr Trump’s character and inexperience in office.
The memo said: “The president-elect is above all an outsider and unknown quantity, whose campaign pronouncements may reveal his instincts, but will surely evolve and, particularly, be open to outside influence if pitched right.
“Having, we believe, built better relationships with his team than have the rest of Washington diplomatic corps, we should be well placed to do this.”
In the latest leaked memos, dated from 2017 to the present, Sir Kim described Mr Trump’s White House as “uniquely dysfunctional” and “inept”.
But in an interview with the Financial Times last year, the diplomat gave the president a more ringing endorsement, saying: “I have met him seven or eight times and always found him to be absolutely charming.”
Sir Kim is considered something of a veteran in the diplomatic arena, with a career spanning three decades.
Prior to taking on the role of UK ambassador to the US in January 2016, the 65-year-old served as national security adviser to former prime minister David Cameron.
He was secretary of the National Security Council until September 2015 and led on issues such as the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Russian aggression in Ukraine, the nuclear threat from Iran and the collapse of government authority in Libya.
Between 2007 and 2011 he served in Brussels as the UK Permanent Representative to the European Union, representing UK interests in areas such as the aftermath of the financial crisis and the issues around European integration.
He joined the diplomatic service in 1977 after graduating from Durham University with a degree in zoology.