March 8, 2021 – Benchmark Executive Search, a boutique provider of cybersecurity talent, has placed Ben Conklin as chief product officer at Janes, a U.K.-based global agency for open-source defense intelligence. The position reports to CEO Blake Bartlett. “Ben Conklin brings a distinguished background, proven leadership and deep product and mission expertise to Janes,” said Jeremy King, president of Benchmark. “We look forward to following his progress.” To fill the key role of in the Washington D.C. area, Janes said it turned to a search firm with industry experience, reputation and the track record to help it land a high-impact executive. “Benchmark came so highly recommended by senior executives in the U.S. that when we had a critical and urgent need to hire a proven product leader to accelerate our business, I had no hesitation in engaging Jeremy King and Benchmark for the search,” said Mr. Bartlett. “Benchmark’s professionalism, attention to detail, customer excellence and ability to attract outstanding candidates is world-class.”
“Ben stood out due to his depth of geographic information systems (GIS) expertise and developing solutions for trusted open-source intelligence and proprietary data that his customers rely on,” Mr. King said. “His added passion for delivering products and solutions that improve understanding of the operational environment for defense made him the number one choice. Plus, he is a very likeable and genuine person who immediately clicked with their CEO, team and culture that Janes has built.”
Most recently, Mr. Conklin was director, defense and intelligence solutions at Esri. He brings 25 years of experience in GIS for defense and national security, and also spent nine years working as a geospatial intelligence analyst with the US Marine Corps. He also gained experience at Esri, serving as director, defense and intelligence solutions.
Mr. Conklin’s leadership, technical, engineering and GIS experience providing solutions to mission-critical government agencies uniquely positions him to lead product for Janes, according to the search firm. He will spearhead product strategy at Janes as the company continues to interconnect and optimize its assured proprietary data – progressing the transition from its publishing legacy into the leading provider of interconnected open-source data, intelligence and analytics.
“I’m delighted that Ben has joined us to head up our global product strategy and delivery,” said Mr. Bartlett. “His unique background in GIS and developing solutions for intelligence professionals worldwide will be vital as we build on our legacy and find new ways to deliver the trusted open-source intelligence and proprietary data that our customers rely on.”
“I’m delighted to be joining Janes at such a pivotal time in the transformation of its global interconnected data and intelligence offerings,” said Mr. Conklin. “I’m passionate about delivering products and solutions that improve our understanding of the operational environment for defense and intelligence professionals worldwide.”
Janes prides itself on “supplying our customers with timely, validated, unbiased and relevant intelligence in a world crowded with increasingly unreliable information.” With a legacy of more than 120 years, Janes has adapted, expanded, and developed its unique tradecraft while transitioning from a traditional military publisher to the leading global agency for open-source defense intelligence. Now Janes is expanding their presence in the U.S. government market.
Finding Cybersecurity Talent
Benchmark Executive Search, based in Reston, VA, focuses on helping start-ups, emerging growth and mid-cap companies recruit leaders with government or private public sector experience to work in the defense, intelligence and national security markets in areas like information technology, military communications, homeland security, cyberwarfare, cloud, and analytics, among others.
As organizations become increasingly reliant on digital infrastructure, cybersecurity threats are increasing in number, persistence, and sophistication. That is why ‘cyber resilience’ has become a sustained board-level agenda item, say recruiting experts who are seeing mandates to find top cyber leaders hit an all-time high.
Mr. King, the firm’s founder, has nearly 20 years of senior-level recruiting experience. He specializes at the intersection of VC/PE backed technology innovators, government contractors and federal mission needs matching them to senior cyber/national/corporate security executives and board members. He has developed deep relationships with government and industry insiders, particularly within the intelligence, DoD and national security communities. He has worked with over 350 start-ups, emerging growth companies as well as publicly traded leaders.
“At a time when cyber risks are proliferating at a faster rate than at any time in history, companies continue to struggle to find proven executives who can help them defend and mitigate against these risks,” said Mr. King. “This is especially true in national security when solving the hardest mission-critical problems requires the best of the best minds. Being in the middle of the ecosystem of recruiting top talent to hot tech companies in national security, we see no slowdown in demand for cyber talent. And I personally don’t think supply will ever catch up with demand.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media