Datong names security specialist as group’s new chief executive

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Spy gadgets firm Datong has appointed defence and security specialist Mark Cook as its new chief executive.

He will replace Brian Smith, who has been acting as interim chief executive of the Leeds-based group since the resignation of Dean Blood in July.

Mr Cook will take up the position on January 9.

Mr Cook, aged 50, has 28 years of director level experience in developing high technology defence and security businesses in the UK and international markets, including positions based in Australia and France.

Datong said his experience includes initiating and implementing strategic and operational plans to increase growth, improve profitability and manage major change programmes.

Mr Cook was previously founder, group managing director and non-executive director of Persides, a technology and products business with its main markets in defence, aerospace, nuclear and security.

Whilst at Persides, he established the technology and products division to develop innovative surveillance technology for the defence and security markets.

During Mr Cook’s time as a director of Persides, the business was put into administration. Datong said that this action has been satisfactorily resolved with the assets being sold and with no action taken against Mr Cook or Persides. Persides was dissolved at the beginning of this month.

Brian Smith, interim chief executive of Datong, said: “Mark brings significant experience of successfully developing high technology and surveillance products within our core markets of defence and security in both the UK and international markets.

“We are delighted that he is joining the board and his expertise will be invaluable.”

Before Persides, Mr Cook was managing director of Joint & C4ISR1, a division of Thales, an international company specialising in electronic systems and services for the defence, aerospace and IT markets.

The Joint & C4ISR division had a turnover of £50m, a headcount of 300 and covered the business areas of EW (Electronic Warfare) and ELINT (Electronics Intelligence) amongst others.

Mr Cook has also held director positions at Racal, which specialises in electronic systems for the defence, industrial and telecommunications markets.

Mr Smith will revert to his position as a non-executive director on January 9. Datong provides a range of advanced high performance covert intelligence gathering solutions, supplying defence, homeland security and law enforcement agencies around the world.

Intelligence strength continues to play an increasingly central role within governmental agencies and police forces, supporting the fight against terrorism and organised crime.