The head of GCHQ is joining a private security firm after six years leading the spy agency through major events such as the Salisbury poisoning, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and increasing Chinese espionage activity.
Sir Jeremy Fleming will join the board of Gallos, which specializes in security technology and has a number of former members of the British and American security establishment in senior positions.
He resigned as GCHQ chief in May and was replaced by Anne Keast-Butler, the first woman to take on the role.
During his six-year tenure at GCHQ, Fleming spoke about the dangers of Russian aggression – from the attempted assassination of Skripal to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
He has warned of the high risks associated with nuclear saber rattling during war.
However, Fleming believes China represents the “real long-term threat” to the security of Britain and the West, stressing that Beijing is “using its ideologies in ways that we believe are contrary to our national interests.”
The GCHQ director has also spoken about the cyber threat from rival states and criminal gangs, highlighting the support his service has had to provide to the UK health sector to counter targeted vaccine research by hackers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cybersecurity expanded under Fleming with the creation of the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) and NCF (National Cyber Force), as well as the establishment of a new GCHQ center in Manchester.
Fleming took over as GCHQ after Donald Trump claimed the agency had wiretapped him at Trump Tower on behalf of President Barack Obama.
GCHQ described the allegation as “completely ridiculous” and Trump later said he was merely repeating what “a very talented lawyer at Fox” had said.
Before joining GCHQ, Fleming was deputy director of MI5 and led a number of operations including the response to the 2005 London terrorist attacks and security preparations for the 2012 Olympics.
Speaking about his new private sector role at Gallos, Fleming said: “At a time when the world is facing rapidly growing and evolving digital threats fueled by geopolitical instability, it is critical that we innovate in security technologies support financially.”
“Our ability to protect both people and businesses in the UK and other allied countries depends on the development and use of the technologies of the future.”