A new chief executive has been appointed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

Dr Paul Hollinshead OBE has taken the reins at the executive agency which provides the science for the UK’s defence and security programmes.

Dr Hollinshead has led complex large science and technology programmes in the defence and civil sector for more than 20 years.

He joins Dstl from the Defence Nuclear Organisation, where he was director warhead.

Dr Hollinshead started his government career at Dstl’s predecessor the Chemical Defence Establishment in Porton Down as a higher scientific officer 34 years ago.

“It is the privilege of a lifetime to be asked to take stewardship of Dstl – the very place I started my career,” he said.

“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.”

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Dstl chairman Adrian Belton said: “I’m delighted to welcome Paul to Dstl. 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.”

Dr Hollinshead replaces Doug Umbers who has been interim chief executive since Gary Aitkenhead left the organisation in April last year.

Umbers will return to his role as Dstl chief operating officer.