Robert Hannigan begins director’s role at GCHQ

Robert Hannigan has now succeeded Sir Iain Lobban as director of GCHQ, his appointment made with the agreement of Prime Minister David Cameron and in consultation with Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister.

Robert Hannigan has been the Director General (Defence and Intelligence) at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) since 2010. Hannigan’s appointment (first announced back in April) at GCHQ was made following a recruitment process chaired by Sir Kim Darroch, National Security Adviser, that was open to crown and civil servants.

Foreign Secretary William Hague commented: “I’m 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.”

Commenting on his appointment, Robert Hannigan said: “It’s 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 at GCHQ and for what they have achieved under the outstanding leadership of Sir Iain Lobban. I’m excited about meeting the challenges of the coming years alongside them.”

Robert Hannigan: the new Director of GCHQ

Robert Hannigan: the new Director of GCHQ

Sir Kim Darroch stated: “I’m delighted Robert Hannigan has been appointed Director of GCHQ. He will bring energy, flair, deep knowledge and extensive experience to the role, and I look forward to working closely with him. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Sir Iain Lobban. Iain has been a close friend and colleague over my time as National Security Adviser, and has done an absolutely outstanding job at an exceptionally testing time for the organisation.”

Robert Hannigan: the Curriculum Vitae

Robert Hannigan joined the FCO as Director General (Defence and Intelligence) on 29 March 2010. For a number of years he has advised the Prime Minister on counter-terrorism, intelligence and security policy.

Hannigan joined the Civil Service from the private sector, becoming Director of Communications for the Northern Ireland Office. He was then appointed to be principal adviser to (then) Prime Minister Tony Blair and various Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland on the peace process, assuming responsibility for negotiations with the political parties and other groups in addition to liaison with the Irish Government and US Administration.

Hannigan was also the Prime Minister’s Security Adviser and Head of Intelligence, Security and Resilience in the Cabinet Office from 2007 with responsibility for the UK’s National Security Strategy.

Hannigan has been a member of the Joint Intelligence Committee for many years and was responsible (in the Cabinet Office) for the funding of the three UK intelligence agencies. He has regularly chaired ‘COBR’ meetings on terrorist incidents.

He was also responsible for the UK’s first Cyber Security Strategy and oversaw the first National Security Strategy.

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