Hannigan was born in Gloucestershire, not far from GCHQ, grew up in Yorkshire and studied classics at Wadham College, Oxford.
He joined the Civil Service from the private sector, becoming Director of Communications for the Northern Ireland Office. He was then appointed to be principal adviser to then 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.
In 2007, he was appointed the Prime Minister’s Security Adviser and Head of Intelligence, Security, and Resilience in the Cabinet Office, with responsibility for the UK National Security Strategy.
Hannigan has been the Director General, Defence and Intelligence at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office since 2010.
- Robert Hannigan is appointed as new Director of GCHQ, gov.uk, 15 April 2014.