Benchmark Executive Search Retained to Recruit Chief Security Officer

August 4, 2016 – Benchmark Executive Search has been retained by SSL MDA Holdings to lead its search for a chief security officer. Jeremy King, president of Benchmark, is leading the assignment. “We are honored to be selected to conduct this important search,” said Mr. King. “We look forward to taking this great opportunity to the best security chiefs in the industry.”

Reporting to the senior vice president, chief legal and compliance officer and working in partnership with the senior management team and the government security committee at SSL MDA, the top post will likely be filled by a proven government contracting security leader who will be responsible for improving, implementing, and monitoring all aspects of security.

According to the position description, the winning candidate will possess the following competencies:

  • Minimum of 20 years’ experience in industrial security with in-depth knowledge of government security programs and experience working with the Defense Security Service (DSS);
  • Knowledge of Foreign Ownership Control and Influence (FOCI) policy;
  • Previous experience leading security within a FOCI environment, such as proxy board or SSA is ideal but not required;
  • Knowledgeable of both the International Traffic and Arms (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR);
  • In-depth knowledge of the Intelligence Community and NISP;
  • U.S. citizen who possesses a Top Secret/SCI security clearance.

“The ideal candidates will come from government contractors and have deep experience with these acronyms: DSS, FOCI, NISPOM, FSO, DSS, ITAR, and EAR,” said Mr. King.

SSL MDA Holdings is the recently organized U.S. operating company of Canadian parent MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) and has its headquarters in San Francisco, CA.

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MDA is a global communications and information services company with $2.1 billion in revenue and 4,800-plus employees. Primary products and services include communications satellites for geosynchronous and low earth orbit transmission of video, audio, and data communications; satellite sub-systems including antennas, payloads, and electronics; autonomous and guided robotic operating systems used in space and terrestrial applications; communication ground systems; defense communications systems; aviation software; and geospatial information processing services. SSL (also known as Space Systems Loral) is MDA’s largest business unit. SSL is a provider of commercial satellites with broad expertise to support satellite operators and innovative space related missions.

Benchmark, based in Reston, VA, is a boutique executive search firm with decades of 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.

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.

“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 is 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 Scott A. Scanlon. “That’s the biggest change we’ve seen.”

Mr. Scanlon said that as a result of this shift, demand for cybersecurity experts is exceeding the available supply by a “widening margin.”

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

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