Home Cyber Founding head of NCSC appointed CB and confirms plans to step down

Founding head of NCSC appointed CB and confirms plans to step down

by Brian Sims
Ciaran Martin

Ciaran Martin

Ciaran Martin, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), has been appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in Her Majesty The Queen’s 2020 New Year’s Honours List and also affirmed long-standing plans to leave his post in the summer. Martin’s departure will bring to a close a six-and-a-half year spell leading the UK Government’s efforts to improve cyber security both at home and on the global stage.

Appointed to GCHQ’s Board as head of cyber security in December 2013, Martin recommended the establishment of the NCSC within GCHQ to Government ministers after the 2015 General Election. Following agreement from the National Security Council, the NCSC was then established the following year under his leadership.

The NCSC has been at the forefront of major improvements to UK cyber security which have been recognised internationally. Early in 2019, the International Telecommunications Union rated the UK the best in the world for cyber security.

GCHQ will set out the process for appointing a new CEO in due course to allow a smooth handover by the end of the summer of 2020.

Martin stated: “It has been the privilege of a lifetime to set up the NCSC and lead its brilliant people. When we created the NCSC, we set out to achieve something truly special, and I hope and believe we are leaving UK cyber security in much better shape. Challenges around securing technology are only going to become ever-more complex so it’s right that, after six and a half years, someone else takes this world-class organisation to the next level.”

As a senior civil servant, Martin is subject to the normal processes for future appointments outside the civil service so announcements about his future plans will not be set out until later in 2020. That said, it has already been confirmed that he will take up the position of visiting professor at King’s College, London beginning in the 2020-2021 academic year.

Martin has been a civil servant since 1997 after graduating from the University of Oxford with a first class degree in history. After early appointments in the National Audit Office and Her Majesty’s Treasury he held a number of senior civil service jobs in the Cabinet Office including principal private secretary to the Cabinet Secretary (Lord O’Donnell), director of security and intelligence and constitution director, where he led the negotiations leading to the 2012 Edinburgh Agreement on the framework for the Scottish Independence Referendum.

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