Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has announced that Richard Horne will become its next CEO later this year.

Horne, who has a PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London, in mathematics and cryptography — his thesis being On Point-Weighted Designs — is the agency’s third permanent chief executive and the first person to lead the NCSC with any formal academic training in cybersecurity.

His permanent predecessors in the role, Ciaran Martin and Lindy Cameron, had both studied history at the University of Oxford (not at the same time) before ultimately joining the Civil Service.

The hire marks another coup for the British public sector in poaching talent from the technology industry, particularly at the executive level, following the recruitment of Ollie Whitehouse as the NCSC’s chief technology officer earlier this year.

Horne is currently the head of accountancy and professional services firm PwC UK’s cybersecurity practice, prior to which he was the managing director of cybersecurity for Barclays Bank.

During his time at Barclays, Horne was seconded to the British government to help develop the country’s 2011 Cyber Security Strategy.

Horne will enter the NCSC’s high-rise offices at Nova South in Victoria, London, later this year, succeeding Felicity Oswald.

Oswald, the NCSC’s current interim CEO, is a widely respected agency stalwart whose experience in Britain’s civil contingencies secretariat has been a significant driver behind the NCSC’s successful approach to increasing societal resilience. Oswald is expected to continue in her regular role as COO once Horne joins.

Felicity Oswald

Felicity Oswald

Anne Keast-Butler, the director of GCHQ — Britain’s cyber and signals intelligence agency, of which NCSC is a part — said she was “delighted” that Horne was joining.

“He brings with him a wealth of experience working with major companies and organisations to help them understand and manage their cyber security – and respond to incidents when they occur.

“Richard’s experience will ensure the NCSC continues to drive cybersecurity up the boardroom agenda and develop its world-leading partnerships to address the cyber security threats that the UK faces,” said Keast-Butler.

Horne himself said it was “an honour to become CEO of the NCSC,” remarking that the agency has repeatedly shown its world-leading understanding of technology and its unparalleled knowledge of the cyber threat we face in the UK.

“I’m incredibly honoured and excited about leading a globally recognised organisation, its world class experts and leaders into the future whilst helping ensure that our mission is realised.”

Horne will begin in the role in the autumn.

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