Sir Peter Spencer was born in Brighton, Sussex in 1947 and was educated at both Cambridge and Southampton Universities. He joined the Royal Navy in 1965 and has held a wide range of previous appointments in defence procurement and project delivery.
His naval career included appointments as Assistant Director for the Sea Wolf missile project, responsible for the procurement and logistic support of all variants of the system and Director, Combat Systems Surface Ships covering the procurement and logistic support of all warship command and control systems.
In 1992 he was appointed Director of Operational Requirements for the Navy and in 1995 moved on promotion to be Director General Fleet Support for Operations and Plans. He returned to procurement in 1997, taking up the post of Director General Surface Ships and Controller of the Navy. During this time the Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) was formed and Sir Peter became an Executive Director on the DPA Board on its establishment in April 1999.
In January 2000 he was promoted to Vice Admiral on appointment as Second Sea Lord and Commander in Chief, Naval Home Command where he initiated fundamental re-design of Navy's personnel management system to enhance operational capability of all front line units and improve retention of key skill groups. This included major improvements in quality and efficiency of Royal Naval training, and simplified personnel processes that are being harmonised with the Army and RAF. He was appointed KCB in June 2001. On 28 March 2003, he took up the position of Chief of Defence Procurement of the Ministry of Defence and Chief Executive of the Defence Procurement Agency.
He is married to Lisa; they have four children and live in Somerset. His interests are music, books, theatre and cinema and sport, especially sailing, cricket and rugby.