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Gloucestershire Business News

GCHQ appoints first female director

Cheltenham-based GCHQ has appointed a female director for the first time in its 104-year history.

Anne Keast-Butler, who is currently deputy director general at MI5, will take up the post next month.

Foreign secretary, James Cleverly, announced that Ms Keast-Butler will succeed Sir Jeremy Fleming as director of GCHQ, with the agreement of the prime minister.

Ms Keast-Butler is currently serving as deputy director general of MI5. She previously spent two years working at GCHQ as head of counter terrorism and serious organised crime and helped to launch the National Cyber Security Programme.

During her 30 years in the national security field, she has held a number of key operational roles in MI5.

James Cleverly, foreign secretary, said: "Anne Keast-Butler has an impressive track record at the heart of the UK's national security network, helping to counter threats posed by terrorists, cyber-criminals and malign foreign powers.

"She is the ideal candidate to lead GCHQ, and Anne will use her vast experience to help keep the British public safe."

Anne Keast-Butler said: "I am delighted to be appointed as the 17th director GCHQ. GCHQ's mission to keep the UK safe is as inspiring today as it was when it was founded more than 100 years ago, operating at the very heart of the UK and our allies' response to some of the most challenging issues of our time.

"In just the last year, GCHQ has contributed vital intelligence to shape the West's response to the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine; helped disrupt terrorist plots; and worked tirelessly to tackle the ongoing threat of ransomware, the impact of which costs the UK dearly.

"I know I am joining a world-class team of people from diverse backgrounds with a broad range of skills, who share a singular focus on making our country safer, more secure and more prosperous. I am passionate about continuing to ensure that GCHQ is an organisation where everyone can perform to their very best."

Sir Jeremy Fleming, outgoing GCHQ director, said: "Anne's appointment is fantastic news for the organisation. I have worked with Anne for decades and think she is a brilliant choice, with deep experience of intelligence and security in today's technology-driven world."

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