GCHQ appoints Robert Hannigan as new director


GCHQ appoints Robert Hannigan as new director

Caroline Baldwin

The man responsible for the UK’s first Cyber Security Strategy has been appointed as the new director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

Robert Hannigan moves from his position as director general, defence and intelligence at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which he has held since 2010.


He was appointed by foreign secretary William Hague, following a recruitment process which was open to crown and civil servants.

Hague said: “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.”

During Hannigan’s time at the Cabinet Office from 2007, he was responsible for the UK’s first Cyber Security Strategy and oversaw the first National Security Strategy. He also advised the Prime Minister on counter terrorism, intelligence and security policy. Before that he was the communications director for the Northern Ireland Office and principal adviser to the then Prime Minister Tony Blair.

He has also been a member of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) and has regularly chaired ‘COBR’ meetings on terrorist incidents.

Hannigan replaces Sir Iain Lobban who is stepping down in the autumn.

Hannigan said: “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.”

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