CISO - Global Telecommunications Leader

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We undertook a brief from a global telecommunications company to assist them in appointing a CISO. The client had recently had a number of high-profile security breaches and were now looking to officially address this. 



The biggest challenge with this role was just how high profile the security breaches had been, they had attracted the attention of senior politicians and global leaders and as such had seriously damaged their reputation.

They required someone who would be able to take on a number of different requirements. This individual had to be a strategic security leader, they had to be experienced in public speaking, not just at exhibitions but also to the press and news outlets.

Proven experience of data security legislation across multiple continents was important. Along with the ability to design and implement security strategies that adhered to laws in Asia, Europe and North America, they had to ensure that this was robust, and also needed to be able to navigate the challenges of each political environment.

This was a role that could have a serious impact on the candidate’s professional reputation if it went wrong. 



After taking the brief the first step was to look to our extensive network of cyber security leaders. For this role the market segment would not be as important as the leadership capability. We immediately began to reach out to our network, and to ask for referrals.

Referrals would be key in this role. The skills and experience required were not those that would be immediately obvious from a social platform profile. This was definitely a case of asking people the question..

“Do you know someone who has experienced a challenge like…” Cyber security professionals’ network extensively, sharing experiences and stories of challenges. From this rich pool of information someone would be able to point us in the right direction!

The successful candidate came from this approach. This was someone who we were connected with but had never had an in-depth career discussion with. Our network brought us to the right person, and when the opportunity was presented, they confirmed that this was the type of challenge they had been looking for. 



The successful candidate came from a varied cyber background. Having worked across Financial Services, Healthcare, for a global systems integrator, and for an overseas Government, amongst other positions. They had experience of cyber legislation across multiple regions and was a regular speaker on the Cyber Circuit.

They were also very well connected across the telecommunications sector due to their time spent at the Systems Integrator and being a member of several cyber advisory boards. But without any doubt, the time taken to find this person would have been extensively longer if we did not have our network to call up on.

This is the benefit of specialising in niche markets like cyber security. The strength of our network to find exceptional candidates cannot be underestimated.

About the author
Doug Mackay
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Having started his career in Executive Search in 1998, Doug set up Collingwood in 2005 alongside his wife, Claire Mackay.

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