The new boss will succeed Sir Iain Lobban this autumn.
The UK has appointed top foreign ministry officer Robert Hannigan as the new director of its spy agency the Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ).
Currently serving as the Director General, Defence and Intelligence at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office since 2010, Hannigan will replace Sir Iain Lobban, who is due to step down this autumn.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said that Hannigan has a wealth of relevant experience in the fields of national security, counter-terrorism and international relations, in addition to impressive personal qualities.
"I’d also like to thank Sir Iain Lobban for his consistently strong and professional leadership as director of GCHQ since 2008," Hague added.
The British surveillance agency came under scrutiny in the wake of revelations by ex-US intelligence contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The disclosures portrayed GCHQ as a main player in secret surveillance operations carried out by the US National Surveillance Agency (NSA) across the globe.
Commenting on the appointment, Robert Hannigan said: "I have great respect for the integrity and professionalism of the staff of GCHQ and for what they have achieved under the outstanding leadership of Iain Lobban."