Foreign Secretary William Hague announced the news on Tuesday on the government website, with the announcement detailing that Hannigan will take the reigns when Lobban moves on from his current role in the autumn.
Hannigan has been the director general for defence and intelligence at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office since 2010, and has previously held roles as head of security, intelligence and resilience at the Cabinet Office, as well as a similar role at the Northern Ireland Office. Poignantly, he was also responsible for the UK's first Cyber Security Strategy - which cost in the region of £650 million.
Sir Kim Darroch, National Security Adviser, oversaw the recruitment process, which was also open to crown and civil servants.
“I am delighted that Robert Hannigan has been appointed as the next Director of GCHQ,” said Hague.
“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.”
Hannigan commented that it was a “privilege” to be asked to lead the GCHQ.
In addition to facing continued allegations of excessive government surveillance following leaks by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden, the GCHQ has been in the press for some good news of its own. Most recently, it announced that it is teaming up with select universities to accredit cyber security degrees.