Nick Hopkinson, formerly the chief information officer at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK communications spying centre based in Cheltenham, has left the UK intelligence service to work as UK director of cybersecurity at IT services firm CSC.

Hopkinson's transfer to the private sector comes at a time the UK government says cybersecurity is now a major priority in its defence of the country, in the face of sophisticated attacks.

“Our clients want to be confident that their information and network systems are protected,” said Samuel Visner, CSC vice president and global lead executive for cybersecurity. “Under Nick’s leadership, CSC will work closely with its clients to develop or improve their technology roadmaps, mitigate their security risks and ensure their enterprise is protected.”

For six years, said CSC, he was a member of the GCHQ board, where he led major programmes that transformed the operational technology base of the organisation and modernised IT services.

In his most recent role, Hopkinson was director general for information security and assurance at CESG, an organisation that provides security and risk certifications and assessments for UK government departments and some private sector organisations.