Military tech unit picks new chief executive

Written by Tevye Markson on 24 February 2022 in News

Paul Hollinshead has been appointed to lead Dstl, where he started his career 34 years ago

Credit: Innov8Social/CC BY 2.0

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory has appointed a new chief executive.

Paul Hollinshead has taken over the top job at Dstl, an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence which provides advice, research and support on science and technology for defence and security organisations. He replaces Doug Umbers, who has been interim chief executive since Gary Aitkenhead resigned in April last year. Umbers has returned to his role as Dstl chief operating officer.

Hollinshead has led complex large science and technology programmes in the defence and civil sector for more than 20 years and joins Dstl from the Defence Nuclear Organisation, where he was director warhead.

“It is the privilege of a lifetime to be asked to take stewardship of Dstl – the very place I started my career,” said Hollinshead, who joined Dstl’s predecessor the Chemical Defence Establishment, Porton Down, as a higher scientific officer 34 years ago.

Related content

“Dstl is a world-renowned science and technology organisation and plays a pivotal role in keeping this country safe and prosperous. I look forward to working with brilliant Dstl colleagues to ensure the UK benefits from the best scientific advice and technological solutions.”

Dstl chair Adrian Belton said he was delighted to welcome Hollinshead, adding: "He brings a tremendous amount of experience in science and technology across government as well as defence and security that will be invaluable to Dstl at an incredibly exciting time.” 

Aitkenhead quit the Ministry of Defence executive agency to return to the private sector.

He is now senior vice president for Europe and the Middle East at global data-centre operator Equinix.

In its recruitment campaign for Aitkenhead’s successor, Dstl offered a £146,000-a-year salary plus a performance bonus worth up to £17,500, with a potential reward package worth more for an “exceptional candidate”.

Dstl is based at Porton Down in Wiltshire. It has more than 4,500 staff, predominantly civil servants who are scientists and engineers, and an annual turnover of “circa £700m”.


About the author

Tevye Markson is a reporter at PublicTechnology sister publication Civil Service World, where this story first appeared. He tweets as @TevyeMarkson.

Share this page




Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

NCSC probes TikTok amid reports of imminent ban of government devices
16 March 2023

Security minister confirms intelligence agency is investigating the video app

Army seeks tech training proposals for recreating combat
8 March 2023

Military research unit announces £2.8m competition for ‘disruptive ideas and concepts’

‘This will define the future of warfare’ – parliamentary committee probes AI weapons
7 March 2023

Peers to examine possible uses of autonomous weapons, as well as their legal and ethical ramifications

Government aims to boost fraud skills of thousands of officials
6 March 2023

New strategy puts forward plan to upskill experts across Whitehall