Saturday 28 December 2019 1:00 pm

UK cyber security chief to step down next year

The head of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has announced he will stand down next summer.

The government said that Ciaran Martin would leave his post in 2020 on Friday evening, almost four years after founding the organisation.

The 45-year-old said it had “been the privilege of a lifetime” and warned the challenge of securing technology we become increasingly complex over time.

Read more: Tom Watson: Labour brutality and hostility caused me to step down

“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to set up the NCSC and lead its brilliant people,” Martin said in a statement.

“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 get ever more complex so it’s right that after six and a half years that someone else takes this world-class organisation to the next level.”

The government said his decision to move on had been a “long-standing” plan.

The career civil servant will become a visiting professor at King’s College London, with other plans to be announced later in 2020.

Martin was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the Queen’s New Year Honours list on Friday.

He rose through the civil service ranks, and had stints at the Treasury and Cabinet Office before joining the board of GCHQ as head of cyber security in December 2013.

Read more: US National Security advisor wants UK over using Huawei in 5G networks

In 2015 he recommended the creation of the cyber security centre, before it formerly opened in October 2016.

Former cabinet secretary, Lord Gus O’Donnell, said Martin had been an “outstanding civil servant for nearly a quarter of a century”.

“Over the past six years he has set up and led something that’s regarded as a huge national asset for the UK all over the world,” he added.