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UK's GCHQ appoints new director

Charlotte Jee | April 17, 2014
Robert Hannigan was responsible for the UK’s first cyber security strategy

Robert Hannigan has been appointed director of GCHQ, a post he will take up when Sir Iain Lobban moves on from the role this autumn.

Hannigan has been the director general for defence and intelligence at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office since 2010 and has advised the prime minister on counter terrorism, intelligence and security for a number of years. He was responsible for the UK's first cyber security strategy, published in November 2011, and oversaw the first national security strategy.

He joined the civil service from the private sector as director of communications for the Northern Ireland Office, before becoming principal adviser on the peace process to prime minister Tony Blair and various ministers. Hannigan served as the prime minister's security adviser and head of intelligence, security and resilience in the Cabinet Office from 2007.

Hannigan was born in Gloucestershire, grew up in Yorkshire and studied classics at Wadham College, Oxford.

The prime minister signed off the appointment after a recruitment process chaired by national security adviser Sir Kim Darroch with input from crown and civil servants.

Robert Hannigan said: "It is a privilege to be asked to lead GCHQ, an organisation which is so central to keeping the people of this country safe.

"I have great respect for the integrity and professionalism of the staff of GCHQ and for what they have achieved under the outstanding leadership of Iain Lobban. I am excited about meeting the challenges of the coming years with them."

Foreign Secretary, William Hague said: "I am delighted that Robert Hannigan has been appointed as the next director of GCHQ. GCHQ's world-class work is vital to the safety and security of the United Kingdom.

"As well as his impressive personal qualities, Robert brings to the job a wealth of relevant experience in the fields of national security, counter-terrorism and international relations. I'd also like to thank Sir Iain Lobban for his consistently strong and professional leadership as Director of GCHQ since 2008."

 

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