Robert Hannigan was appointed Director GCHQ in 2014 and has made improving diversity and inclusion a key priority for the organisation. The most public demonstration of this was the illumination of the iconic Cheltenham headquarters in rainbow colours to support IDAHOT day in 2015 as a clear statement of how proud GCHQ is of its diverse workforce and how far the organisation has come since the early 1990s, when being openly gay was a bar to employment in the intelligence agencies. Robert has also launched a diversity surge to rapidly improve GCHQ's recruitment of talent from diverse backgrounds.
Prior to GCHQ, Robert worked as the Director General, Defence and Intelligence at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) where he was the diversity champion on the FCO's Board. During his tenure, the department launched a ground-breaking campaign to make the organisation more representative of modern Britain, which was highly commended at the Race for Opportunity Awards.
Before joining the FCO in 2010, Robert worked in No.10 as Gordon Brown's Security Adviser and Head of Intelligence, Security, and Resilience in the Cabinet Office, having previously been at the Northern Ireland Office as the principal adviser to Tony Blair on the Northern Ireland peace process. He was also the Diversity Champion at the NIO.
In 2016, GCHQ’s Stonewall WEI ranking rose 70 places to 112. GCHQ has also received a Silver banding in both the Race and Gender benchmarks for our 2015 submission to Business in the Community.