Former BAE exec to promote UK cybersecurity ‎exports

(c) Sky News 2019: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/former-bae-exec-to-promote-uk-cybersecurity-8206exports-11703063">Former BAE exec to promote UK cybersecurity ‎exports</a>
 

A former executive at BAE Systems' cybersecurity division is being drafted in by Liam Fox to aid British companies' efforts to defend foreign governments and central banks against cyberattacks.

Sky News understands that the international trade secretary will announce the appointment of Dr Henry Pearson as the UK's new cyber security ambassador on Friday.

‎Dr Pearson's arrival will fill a position that was left vacant well over a year when Conrad Prince stepped down.

‎The role, which pays a senior civil servant's salary, is designed to promote the cyber capabilities of British companies in international markets.

A Department for International Trade (DIT) insider said that Dr Pearson would focus on countries in the Gulf ‎and south-east Asia, and seek to help UK-based businesses win contracts with governments and central banks.

UK cybersecurity experts are forecast to be worth £2.6bn annually by 2021.

Dr Pearson has worked at the National Cyber Security Centre‎, the Ministry of Defence and Detica, the cyberdefence subsidiary of BAE Systems.

His appointment comes amid a raging debate about the role of Huawei, the Chinese telecoms equipment manufacturer, in building Britain's 5G communications network.

Huawei has vigorously dismissed long-standing suggestions that it is funded by Beijing, but doubts about its engineering competence have fuelled concerns about the wisdom of allowing the company to play a role in critical national infrastructure.

A DIT spokeswoman declined to comment on Dr Pearson's appointment ahead of a formal announcement.