Microsoft UK turns to FBI for security advisor

Update: A former FBI special agent with a history of battling organised crime has been chosen to head up Microsoft's UK security team

After a six-month search Microsoft UK has chosen a new security chief, and it's a man with plenty of experience of the criminal underworld.

The company announced late last week that it had appointed Edward Gibson as its chief security advisor in the UK. Gibson, who will take up his new role in July, has worked for America's Federal Bureau of Investigation as an assistant legal attaché for the UK. He started at the FBI in 1985 as a special agent, and has a track-record of fighting money laundering, fraud, financial crime and intellectual-property theft, according to Microsoft.

Gibson succeeds Stuart Okin, who left Microsoft in October 2004 — since when Nick McGrath, head of platform strategy, has covered the role.

Gibson's appointment was welcomed by Richard Starnes, president of Information Systems Security Association UK. "Ed Gibson will be an excellent ambassador for Microsoft. He's well respected with a good international reputation," said Starnes.

In a statement, McGrath said that Gibson's crime-fighting experience would help him to advise UK companies and public sector bodies on security issues.

Being Microsoft UK's public face for security can be a tough role. Okin, who became Microsoft UK's first chief security officer in February 2002, found that his term of office coincided with growing criticism over the security of Microsoft products such as Internet Explorer.