Benchmark Executive Search Recruits Cybersecurity Leader for Accenture

October 6, 2016 – Benchmark Executive Search has recruited Ira “Gus” Hunt to lead the cybersecurity practice at Accenture Federal Services (AFS). Benchmark president Jeremy King led the search.

Mr. Hunt formerly served as chief technology officer for the CIA from which he retired in 2013 after a 28-year career. As CTO, he set the CIA’s information technology strategic direction, accelerated adoption of new technology and led the agency’s implementation of the Amazon cloud. Most recently, he served as chief architect for hedge fund Bridgewater Associates. Prior to joining Bridgewater, Mr. Hunt was president and chief executive officer of Hunt Technology LLC, a private consulting practice focused on strategic IT planning, cyber and data-centric security, big data analytics and cloud computing.

“We are excited that Gus has joined our team, as his expertise can help our federal clients identify new approaches to better safeguard their agencies,” said David Moskovitz, chief executive for Accenture Federal Services. “He brings the experience, vision and passion to help our clients better understand their highest-value assets, address their threats and vulnerabilities, and effectively protect themselves within their budget and technology constraints.”

Cyber Vision

“Gus is a forward-thinking executive with vast knowledge and experience identifying up-and-coming technology innovations,” said Kelly Bissell, head of Accenture Security. “Tapping into our industry-specific security solutions and global resources, he will help our federal clients build resilience from the inside-out so they can operate confidently in a rapidly evolving threat landscape.”

“Accenture Federal asked Benchmark to find one of the country’s top cyber security strategists and architects,” said Mr. King. “Given this narrow pool of candidates to target, an additional requirement was the individual must be a world-class evangelizer of their new cyber vision to their customers, prospective customers, partners, and industry. Gus Hunt was the perfect fit.”

Mr. King said he knew of Mr. Hunt’s strong reputation as CTO at the CIA and being a key proponent of a secure public sector cloud, resulting in an Amazon Web Services partnership. “Plus, he’s a great guy whose personality and passion lights up any room.”

AFS’ cybersecurity practice offers its clients a portfolio of key cyber capabilities, including strategic consulting, data-centric security technologies, secure transition to the cloud, and operational security such as cyber hunt and incident response.

Benchmark, based in Reston, VA, is a boutique executive search firm with CXO, VP, GM and board level executive search experience. The firm works with top public companies, private equity and VC-backed technology innovators at the intersection of cybersecurity, national security, and corporate security.

Benchmark just recently launched Expert Network, a new service designed to match its network of experts, advisors and consultants with companies seeking to upgrade their corporate asset protection, risk management and cyber strategies. To address the growing need for a full spectrum of enterprise risks in corporate boardrooms and at the C-suite, Benchmark has assembled a pool of ‘talent assets’ to assist organizations in re-evaluating their approach to risk management.

Earlier this year, the firm launched a newly expanded board of directors practice which now serves Fortune 1000 clients. Benchmark was also inducted into Cyber20, a ranking of the nation’s top executive search firms dedicated to cybersecurity recruiting released this past spring by Hunt Scanlon Media.

Addressing Cyber Risk

“Having served on Benchmark’s advisory board for over 10 years, I have seen firsthand that they have earned the respect of their clients and candidates because of a deep understanding of this complex market — and not just joining the conversation, but leading, creating and often initiating thought leadership in areas of cybersecurity and risk,” said Andy Maner, former CFO of Department of Homeland Security.

“Cyberattacks are growing in magnitude, complexity, and frequency, and these massive security lapses have left many companies vulnerable,” said Mr. King. To address this risk, Benchmark has been leveraging its knowledge and network of experts in cybersecurity, physical security, insider threat, corporate espionage and risk management to identify next-generation leaders in the space.

To help find those leaders, Benchmark added five new security and risk specialists to its expanded advisory board. “These leaders have helped protect America’s secrets and mitigate national security threats,” said Jeremy King, president of Benchmark. “They are now using their knowledge and unique insight to help corporate America protect its secrets and mitigate risks. I am humbled to have each of them join our team of advisors.”

The hunt for seasoned cybersecurity talent has seen a dramatic increase in the last two to three years, according to a recent special issue of search industry newsletter ESR devoted to cybersecurity.

According to the report, recruiters are finding a lack of qualified candidates just as companies put a greater emphasis and give a higher priority to corporate security. “Cybersecurity is quickly transforming from an independent corporate functional focus to a full-fledged integrated business sector,” said Scott A. Scanlon, the report’s editor-in-chief and Hunt Scanlon founding chairman and CEO. “That’s the biggest change we’ve seen.”

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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