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Cyber Florida names new executive director

Margie Manning

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J. Michael “Mike” McConnell, a retired U.S. Navy vice admiral and former director of the National Security Agency, will be the new executive director of Cyber Florida.

Cyber Florida’s current director, Sri Sridharan, plans to retire, effective June 30.

Cyber Florida is a state-funded organization hosted at University of South Florida that works with all 12 public universities in Florida, as well as private industry, government and the military to build partnerships and develop programs that grow and strengthen Florida’s cybersecurity industry.

J. Michael (Mike) McConnell

McConnell brings an extensive military and intelligence background that will help further Cyber Florida’s mission of positioning the state as a national leader in cybersecurity, a news release said.

His career spans over 50 years, focused on international and foreign intelligence issues, including 29 years as a U.S. Navy intelligence officer.  In 2007, he became the second U.S. Director of National Intelligence, serving under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  From 1992 to 1996, he served as NSA director. McConnell has received the nation’s highest award for service in the U.S. intelligence community from both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He’s also been vice chairman of Booz Allen Hamilton, a management and information technology consulting firm.

“Our goal at USF is always to recruit the best talent – whether the brightest students, world-class faculty or top leaders of their fields – to elevate the stature of our university. Mike is one of the leading voices in cybersecurity nationally, and I have no doubt that his vast experience and relationships with key policymakers will be a tremendous asset to Cyber Florida’s continued progress, which will benefit future generations of Floridians,” USF President Steven C. Currall said in the release.

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