Ciaran is Professor of Practice in the Management of Public Organisations at Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government. Before returning to Oxford, he led a fundamental shift in the UK’s approach to cyber security by successfully advocating for a more interventionist approach. This led to the creation of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre, of which Ciaran was founding Chief Executive from 2016 to 2020. The NCSC has been lauded for its quick response to incidents and for putting previously classified information in the hands of industry so that companies can defend themselves more effectively.
In his 23-year career in the UK civil service, Ciaran held senior roles within the Cabinet Office, including Constitution Director (2011-2014) and Director of Security and Intelligence at the Cabinet Office (2008-2011). Between 2002 and 2008 he was Principal Private Secretary to the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service and Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary to HM Treasury. Ciaran was appointed CB in the 2020 New Year’s Honour’s list.