The Georgia Institute of Technology announced earlier this week that following a national search it has hired Leo Howell as its new chief information security officer (CISO).

In his new role, Howell will report directly to Daren Hubbard, vice president for Information Technology and chief information officer. Howell, who will officially start on Oct. 18, joins Georgia Tech from the University of Oregon, where he serves as CISO and interim chief technology officer

“With so much work on the horizon in the areas of cybersecurity and data protection, we are very pleased that Leo will be joining Georgia Tech during this pivotal time,” Hubbard said. “His years of experience in data and cybersecurity and his proven record as a leader within higher education will help us advance our data excellence efforts and bring extensive knowledge and experience to our students, faculty, staff, and other Institute partners.”

In a press release, Georgia Tech said Howell will be responsible for providing leadership in the development and implementation of an institute-wide information security and risk management program to ensure that the university’s information assets are adequately protected. He will also serve as a member of senior leadership in the Office of Information Technology, where he will be responsible for creating and maintaining a cybersecurity program and leading the cybersecurity team.

“I am excited and honored to be joining the Georgia Tech community during this time of increasing dependence on information technology and unprecedented cyber threats,” Howell said. “I also look forward to working with my team and stakeholders across the university to leverage cybersecurity as an enabler of excellence, by developing a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to defending our digital assets.”

Howell will replace Didier Contis, who has served as Georgia Tech’s interim CISO since February. The school confirmed that Contis will step back to his permanent role as director of information technology within the College of Engineering.

“We appreciate Didier’s contributions to our team in his interim capacity,” Hubbard said. “He has helped us advance our efforts to achieve endpoint security compliance and deliver cybersecurity awareness training. We look forward to his ongoing engagement as part of our CIO advisory council and data excellence steering committee.”

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