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30 March, 2021 - 11:29 By Tony Quested

New chair as Darktrace gears up for IPO

Gordon Hurst has taken over as chairman at Cambridge autonomous cyber security AI company Darktrace. He succeeds Robert Webb QC in the role.

Hurst has served on the Darktrace Board as a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee since August 2019. He has significant experience in financial and operational management, having previously served as Group Finance Director at Capita plc for 19 years until February 2015, where he was instrumental in growing the company into a FTSE 100 business.

A London IPO for Darktrace is forecast before summer which will value the company at around $5 billion.

Hurst’s appointment is one of a number of high profile additions to the Darktrace board this month. Former Government Minister for Universities and Science within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Rt Hon. David Willetts recently joined the board as a non-exec director.

Ex-CFO of Just Eat and The Sage Group plc, Paul Harrison also joined Darktrace recently as a non-exec director and will be Chair of the Audit Committee.

Lord Willetts served as a Member of Parliament from 1992 to 2015. He was Minister for Universities and Science within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills from 2010 to 2014, and previously held roles within HM Treasury and the No. 10 Policy Unit. His current roles include President of the Resolution Foundation and Chair of the Foundation for Science and Technology, together with serving on several company boards.

Lord Willetts said: “I am honoured to join the Board of Darktrace, a true example of great British innovation and leadership in the cyber AI field. I look forward to supporting the company as it continues to play a critical role in building the technology and talent needed to counter the rising threat from cyber-attacks on business, government and critical national infrastructure.”

Harrison said: ““As cyber-threats become more sophisticated and better-resourced, it is clear that the cyber challenge is one that can only be addressed with breakthrough AI technology.

“I am delighted to be joining the Board of a company addressing one of the biggest threats to society with innovation, and I look forward to bringing my industry experience to this role as the company continues to grow.”

New chair Gordon Hurst said: “I am delighted to take on the role of Chair at Darktrace. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rob on behalf of the Board for his many years of valuable guidance to the company, and to welcome our new Board members in Sir Peter Bonfield, Paul Harrison and Lord Willetts.” 

“We have a strong team at Darktrace and are uniquely positioned to continue our successful growth trajectory as we lead the way forward in cyber security and enter our next period of strategic growth”.

Darktrace provides comprehensive, enterprise-wide cyber defense to over 4,500 organisations globally, protecting the cloud, email, IoT, traditional networks, endpoints and industrial systems.

A self-learning technology, Darktrace AI autonomously detects, investigates and responds to advanced cyber-threats, including insider threat, remote working risks, ransomware, data loss and supply chain vulnerabilities.

Darktrace has reported strong demand for its latest product release, Version 5 of its self-learning Darktrace Immune System this year, as customers tackle security challenges related to home working, and the new wave of sophisticated cyber-attacks. 

The company has 1,500 employees and 44 office locations, with headquarters in Cambridge, UK.

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