Jeremy Fleming has been appointed to succeed Robert Hannigan as director GCHQ, with the agreement of the Prime Minister.
Fleming has been deputy director general of MI5 since 2013. He will succeed Robert Hannigan, who announced in January his decision to step down once a successor was in place. He will take up his post around Easter. The appointment was made following a recruitment process chaired by National Security Adviser Sir Mark Lyall Grant.
Lyall Grant explained that: “Jeremy Fleming emerged from a strong and competitive field as the outstanding candidate to become the next Director, GCHQ. He is a national security professional of the highest standard, who is widely respected across the national security community, in the UK and overseas.” He was also endorsed by outgoing GCHQ director Hannigan who said of Fleming that he comes with deep intelligence experience and expertise.
Announcing the appointment today in a government press release, the foreign secretary Boris Johnson said, “I congratulate Jeremy on his appointment as Director of GCHQ at an important time for the service. I know that he will continue the excellent work of Robert Hannigan in leading this outstanding organisation, when the skill and ingenuity of the UK intelligence community are critical to defending Britain from cyber-attacks, terror plots and other activities that threaten us and our allies." It certainly is an important time for the service. Since the Snowden revelations, GCHQ has come out of the shadows, and now has a public facing arm in NCSC – and with the latest government statements denying any involvement in any alleged hacking of the then presidential contender, Donald Trump, GCHQ's public profile has never been more mainstream.
New GCHQ director, Fleming issued a statement saying: “It is a great privilege to be asked to lead GCHQ as it approaches its centenary in 2019. The organisation has a distinguished past and an increasingly important role to play in keeping Britain safe in the digital age. From managing cyber risks posed by nation states to preventing terror attacks, keeping our children safe online and supporting our Armed Forces, the exceptional men and women of GCHQ operate on the new frontline of global challenges.”
Fleming joined government from the private sector in 1993. He is a career MI5 officer with significant professional experience of national security and intelligence work, including international and Northern Ireland counter-terrorism, counter-espionage, cyber, and protective security. He led MI5's preparations for the London 2012 Olympics and has played a lead role in shaping the organisation to disrupt the changing face of the threat from terrorist groups and hostile state actors.