May 30, 2017 – Executive search firm Allen Austin has placed Angelique Grado as chief information security officer of MRC Global Inc., a global industrial distributor of pipe, valves, fittings and related products and services to the energy industry. Partners Namrata Banga and Kevin Stewart led the assignment.
Ms. Grado brings 20 years of information security, system architecture and project management experience to the job. She was most recently employed with Air Liquide USA where she was responsible for governance, risk and compliance for digital security across the Americas. In addition, she is founder of Houston-based Infragard Oil & Gas Special Interest Group and has served on the board of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the ISSA. She speaks at numerous presentations and participates on panels concerning information security, risk management, professionalization of the security industry career path and teaming up plant and business technology security.
“MRC Global was looking for a trusted advisor, a thought leader to lead the development and delivery of information security strategy, standards, best practices, architecture and systems,” said Ms. Banga. “It being a highly critical role, they wanted to bring in the right person with the right attributes and last but most important, the right fit.”
Ms. Grado’s extensive experience in information security, system architecture and project management made an impression on both the recruiters and their client. “Starting her information security career in the Air Force, Angelique was handpicked to be on the President’s team for Network Defense in the year 2003,” Ms. Banga said. “Angelique established a thorough knowledge of the information and cyber security industry, having seen its evolution over the years. Her proven track record in developing, implementing and leading comprehensive security programs as well as her ability to adapt and overcome in ever changing situations, made her the best fit.”
Competition for Cyber Security Talent Intensifies
Executive recruiters are reporting that high profile data breaches at well-known companies have induced demand for cyber security talent, namely chief information security officers (CISO), at a time when IT security executives are being elevated to the C-suite.
Mr. Stewart has more than 15 years of search experience for clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. He is a member of Allen Austin’s diversity & inclusion, technology, media & telecommunications and private equity & venture capital practices. His experience, meanwhile, spans a range of functions and disciplines for both private, private equity and multi-billion-dollar public companies in multiple sectors. His work with multinational companies includes an emphasis on software, telecommunications, internet, and media sectors.
Ms. Banga is a member of the firm’s CEO and board practice. In addition, she serves multiple clients across the industrial & manufacturing, consumer, technology and non-profit sectors. She previously worked with MRC Global, where she managed the full recruitment cycle for various operational, supply chain and marketing positions. Ms. Banga recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss the hunt for the top information security role.
Namrata, where do you find the best information security professionals?
There are as many security professionals as there are jobs. It’s really more about widening the talent pool by considering a few things such as limiting the number of “filters” on the requirements of the role. Due to this, oftentimes the right candidates do not even surface in the target candidate list. Allocating a budget is another important factor here. All of this may require some coaching to the clients to help them understand what may or may not work. Failure to do so can result in the search turning in to a “bottomless pit,” in which case the hiring firm ends up losing time and money. This is also one of the reasons why a search firm should be engaged when there are highly critical roles to fill.
What is the best type of training for this type of role?
I think it’s important to not focus solely on technical training. There are many other skills for security professionals to attain. Providing training on soft skills, communications, program management and leadership are just a few examples.
What traits/characteristics make for an ideal security executive?
In the ever changing world of cyber security, it is important to look for specific personal traits as well as carefully examine each individual’s area of subject matter expertise. One must also take into account the culture of the enterprise itself. Based on the above, here are the ideal traits of security professionals: a proven track record, which means thorough knowledge in developing, implementing and leading comprehensive security programs; visioning and strategic direction; a clear understanding of the business; ability to adapt and overcome; and effective communication at all associated levels of the organization.
Explain the importance of this role?
Cybersecurity is a strategic issue, and delays in identifying web attacks increase losses. IT security needs to become a fundamental element of a company’s business strategy. It is critical to secure the firm’s assets whether it be intellectual property, trade secrets, or customer and financial data. Availability, and confidentiality of information are of paramount concerns today. Regardless of the size of the firm, a security program provides the framework for keeping a company at a desired security level by assessing the risks you face, deciding how you will mitigate them, and planning for how you keep the program and your security practices up to date.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Chase Barbe, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media