In recognition of his extraordinarily distinguished professional career, Robert joins a small body of Wadham matriculants who have been recognised by the College through the conferment of this singular title.
Robert was appointed Director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in 2014.
Robert was the Prime Minister’s Security Adviser and Head of Intelligence, Security, and Resilience in the Cabinet Office from 2007, providing advice to the Prime Minister on counter terrorism, intelligence and security policy. He was responsible for the UK’s first National Security and Cyber Security Strategies and set up the Office for Cyber Security and Information Assurance; his Cabinet Office role included coordination and funding of the UK intelligence agencies. He was also responsible for crisis management (‘COBR’) and the Civil Contingencies Secretariat. In 2008 he led the Data Handling Review which introduced widespread changes to the way the public sector handles the personal data of UK citizens.
Until 2007 he was the principal adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair and various Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland on the peace process, with responsibility for negotiations with the political parties and other groups, and liaison with the Irish Government and US Administration. Before taking up this post Robert was the Director of Communications for the Northern Ireland Office.
Robert joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as Director General, Defence and Intelligence in March 2010. He led the FCO’s role in managing strategic international security threats, including counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation. He also provided advice to the Foreign Secretary on intelligence matters, oversees UK policy towards the Americas and Caribbean, and governance of the UK’s Overseas Territories. He was a member of the FCO Board.