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Crossword Cybersecurity plc appoints former GlaxoSmithKline & NHS CISO, Dr Robert Coles

London, UK – March 19, 2019– Crossword Cybersecurity plc (AIM:CCS, “Crossword”), the cyber security technology commercialisation company, has today announced the appointment of a new Advisory Board made up of senior figures from academia, the corporate world and government. The new Advisory Board, chaired by former GlaxoSmithKline & NHS CISO, Dr Robert Coles, will provide a range of unique perspectives on cyber security that will benefit Crossword clients and inform Crossword’s product development strategy.

Crossword’s world class Advisory Board brings together:

  1. Dr Robert Coles, Chair of Crossword’s Advisory Board, former Chief Information Security Officer of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and of the NHS, with over 30 years commercial experience.

  2. General Nick Houghton, Baron Houghton of Richmond, GCB, CBE, DL, former Chief of the Defence Staff of the British Armed Forces.

  3. Professor Nick Jennings, CB, FREng, Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) at Imperial College London, Professor of Artificial Intelligence, and formerly UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor for National Security.

  4. Dr Una-May O’Reilly, Principal Research Scientist, leading research in scalable machine learning, evolutionary algorithms, and frameworks for large-scale knowledge mining, prediction and analytics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), Boston, USA.

The Advisory Board will meet on a quarterly basis and as part of its responsibilities will:

  1. Apply its knowledge and experience to current and future trends and threats in the cyber security landscape, as part of producing a client focused insight report.

  2. Support ongoing assessment of research projects within universities and research centres worldwide, to assist Crossword in deciding where to build relationships and focus its resources and attention.

Tom Ilube, CEO of Crossword, commented “Crossword is exceptionally fortunate to be able to attract such a world class group of senior industry figures to our new Advisory Board. We have big plans for the future and being able to draw upon the guidance, advice and networks of our new advisors will be invaluable.”

Prior to his time at the NHS, Dr Robert Coles worked for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) from 2013 and was the company’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). Before GSK, Dr Coles served as CISO for the National Grid and Merrill Lynch. Dr Coles is an Honorary Professor at UCL and Visiting Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London and has extensive links with major industry information security networking groups and government security agencies.

General Sir Nick Houghton was Chief of the Defence Staff of the British Armed Forces, before retiring in 2016. Educated at Sandhurst and Oxford, General Houghton commanded 1st Battalion The Green Howards and an Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland. Following his retirement from the army, General Houghton, an existing adviser to Crossword, became the 160th Constable of the Tower of London and a Trustee of Historic Royal Palaces and joined the House of Lords in 2017 as a crossbench peer, becoming Baron Houghton of Richmond.

Professor Nick Jennings CB FREng worked for the UK Government as the Chief Scientific Advisor for National Security from 2010 to 2015. Currently, Professor Jennings is the Vice-Provost for Research and Enterprise, as well as a Professor in Artificial Intelligence, at Imperial College London. Prior to joining Imperial College, Professor Jennings was the Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton – the first holder of that title in the institution’s history. Jennings is an internationally recognised authority in the areas of artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, agent-based computing and cyber security. Professor Jennings has been a Senior Adviser to Crossword since 2016.

Fellow academic, Dr Una-May O’Reilly joined the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, Boston, as a Post-Doctoral Associate in 1996. Dr O’Reilly is the Founder and Principal Research Scientist of the AnyScale Learning For All (ALFA) Group at MIT-CSAIL. ALFA conducts research projects in artificial adversarial intelligence related to cybersecurity, MOOC data analytics, and data-driven medical modeling. As well as her academic prowess, O’Reilly brings to the board her extensive international connections.


Crossword Cybersecurity plc – Tel: +44 (0) 20 3953 8460


Tom Ilube, Chief Executive Officer

Mary Dowd, Finance Director

Grant Thornton (Nominated Adviser) –  Tel: +44 (0) 20 7383 5100

Colin Aaronson / Jamie Barklem /Niall McDonald

Hybridan LLP (Broker) – Tel: +44 (0)20 3764 2341

Claire Louise Noyce

Media contact

Lorena Duke, Ginger PR Ltd – Tel: +44 (0) 19 3248 5300


About Crossword Cybersecurity

Crossword Cybersecurity plc (AIM:CCS) is a technology commercialisation company focusing exclusively on the cyber security sector. We work with research intensive European university partners to identify promising cyber security intellectual property (IP) from research that our industry partners tell us meet emerging real-world challenges.

Our specialist cyber security software engineering team works with our university partners to develop research concepts into fully-fledged commercial products, that we then take to market. Our consulting team works with clients to address their cyber security challenges – by providing strategy, assessment and risk management services.


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