Simon has a distinguished career as a diplomat and public servant. He was a Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 2002 to 2009, New Zealand High Commissioner in Canberra from 1999 to 2002 and Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 1991 to 1998. He started his career in foreign affairs in 1972, serving in New Zealand and overseas until his retirement in 2009.
Simon remains involved in several projects and activities including public sector reviews, consultancy services in crisis management, national security and intelligence. He holds governance positions on several public entities. Simon was awarded the honour of Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009.
He is a graduate of Canterbury University with a BA in English and American Studies and an MA with First Class Honours in American Studies.