About Othrys

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Our Team

Chief Executive
Nick Catliff

Nick is a highly experienced media executive and business leader. A BBC graduate trainee he worked as a producer and journalist in News, Current Affairs and Documentaries before moving into independent production as co-founder and MD of Lion Television. He grew Lion from a start-up to become a highly respected international production company with bases in London and Glasgow as well as a US subsidiary based in New York. Lion built a reputation as a producer of high-quality factual content working with broadcasters and digital platforms in the UK, USA, Europe and Asia and has won many industry awards including BAFTA, Royal Television Society and Emmys. He led Lion as it became one of the founding companies of All3 Media which, through acquisition and organic growth, is now one of the largest production groups in the world. Nick left Lion in 2021. As chairman of the Indie Training Fund and as a board member of the training organisation ScreenSkills Nick has taken a leading role in issues around diversity and inclusion in the screen-based industries. Nick has an MBA from The Berlin School of Creative Leadership.

Information and Intelligence (Founder)
Andrew Brear

Serving in operational, liaison and leadership roles, Andy has over 20 years of experience as a British diplomat specialising in intelligence and security. He was deployed to Pakistan and Afghanistan several times between 1999 and 2011 and held diplomatic posts in Northern and Southern Europe, Latin America, and South Asia. In the late 1990s, Andy was seconded to the Ministry of Defence in a counter-terrorism operational role and later to GCHQ as an operational adviser. He also served as a Deployable Civilian Expert of the British Government’s Stabilisation Unit.

An expert in cross-cultural communication, intelligence capability building, and the application of security technologies, Andy has delivered security advisory services to governments in Europe, the Middle East, East Africa and the Gulf.

Chief Operating Officer
Richard Stephens MBE MA MSc FCMI CMgr

Richard Stephens is a senior leader of broad national and international experience who has worked extensively across the fields of security, risk and intelligence in the public and private sectors.

Over a 23-year career in the specialist military Richard commanded teams from 12 to 1000 people on operations in hostile environments. He has led cross-departmental think tanks for the UK Government, has authored policy for several overseas administrations, he has conducted complex investigations for the Lloyd’s insurance market and helped to establish a leadership development programme in Iraq for oil executives. He has directed war crimes investigations in Syria and has established a law firm in the City of London that specialised in high-risk jurisdictions. Latterly he was managing director of a global risk advisory firm.

Richard was awarded MBE for his leadership on counter-terrorism operations. He has a Master of Arts in Defence Studies from King’s College, London and a Master of Science (Distinction) in Leadership and Management, his research area being Middle Eastern leadership and specifically ‘An Investigation Of The Kurdish Leader - Leadership Insights In Northern Iraq’. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, is a Chartered Manager and a Henley Business School accredited executive coach.

Networks and Intellectual Property
Nick Watson

Nick is a former senior British diplomat and Arabic-speaker who served in a range of Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan and Egypt. More recently, Nick spent nine years as a partner at Hakluyt, a network-based advisory business, including three years in Tokyo working with leading Japanese companies and three years running the firm’s Middle East business.

Nick’s career in both the public and private sectors has been based around the development, structuring and leveraging of professional networks as a basis for providing high quality insight, advice and judgement to senior decision-makers. He has recently founded a company that takes a network-based approach to providing impartial, expert advice on technology innovation and its protection. Other areas of interest include coaching and mentoring, education and cross-cultural communication. He acts as board adviser to Adeptis Group, a recruitment business specialising in cyber security, and also sits on the Council of the University of Sussex, its governing body and on the Advisory Council of UC Berkeley’s AMENA Center for Entrepreneurship and Development.

Director Strategy and Risk
John O’Callaghan FIET

Former British diplomat specialising in the application of science and technology to national security issues. Expert in strategic risk management, digital innovation and transformation, cyber security, and the exploitation of publicly available information to provide strategic advantage. Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London, Department of War Studies.

Technology and Innovation
Seamus Tucker CMG OBE

Seamus spent thirty years working for the British Government. He served overseas with the Foreign Office in Eastern Europe, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia and the United States. He specialised in national security issues, counterterrorism, organised crime and state threats. In the UK he spent time in the Home Office where he led the CT Science & Technology unit and the CBRNE unit, providing security support for the 2012 Olympics. In the latter part of his Civil Service career his focus was on delivery of cyber security and digital transformation programmes.

Seamus is a graduate of the Civil Service High Performance Development Scheme (HPDS) and of the UK Defence High Command Staff Course (HCSC). He received a CMG for services to National Security in 2019.

High Trust Search
Tim Cook

Based in London, but operating internationally, Tim Cook has 20 years of executive search and assessment experience, covering both Egon Zehnder and Russell Reynolds where Tim co-led the Global Cyber and CIO Practices before setting up Kafue Consultants.

Tim is focused on helping clients understand what good looks like in digital as well as cyber security leadership. He has previous experience in both large and small-scale technology companies, from time spent at Fujitsu Services and Cherwell Scientific, where he was the CEO. Earlier in his career, Tim served in the UK MOD. Tim’s work has covered Cyber as well as CIO, CTO and other senior digital roles in analytics. He has worked across most sectors and geographies on both search and assessment projects. Tim invented a maturity model for cyber security leadership called CIRO (Cyber and Information Risk Officers) to help organisations and individuals understand what good looks like in cyber leadership, this has been widely used internationally in search and assessment assignments.

Tim has a degree in English Literature, a postgrad diploma from the LSE, an MBA from London Business School, and an MSc from UCL.

Non Executive
Phil Jones CB CBE DL

Phil Jones served for 36 years in the British Army, departing the service as a Lieutenant General. With over 15 international deployments, including three secondments to the UN and two to NATO in leadership roles, he gained operational experience in most of the major military campaigns of the past 30 years. Senior positions included Brigade Commander in Northern Ireland, Military Advisor to the UN in Afghanistan, Military Attaché in Washington D.C., Director of the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Programme, the first Chief of Staff to the new UK Joint Forces Command within the Ministry of Defence, and Chief of Staff for NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Command for Transformation.

Phil has extensive experience in international affairs and diplomacy; strategy development and implementation; strategic leadership of change and transformation; planning, leading and managing campaigns; international governance, stabilisation and peacebuilding.

CISO
Nic Miller

With over 15 years spent working in cyber security, both within GCHQ and the private sector, Nic is an experienced cyber security leader with specialist expertise in building highly effective cyber security programmes within small to medium sized companies.

Having started his career at GCHQ, inside the precursor to the National Cyber Security Centre, Nic has also previously held the role of Chief Information Security Officer for a global, multi-billion dollar hedge fund. He now acts as a virtual CISO, advising firms on security strategies and cyber risk.

Head of Finance
Gerry Defries FCA CF

Gerry is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW) and a Fellow of the British Institute of Management, with Corporate Finance qualifications and deep experience in that field.

As well as running his own thriving Chartered Accountancy firm successfully for 45 years, he has been part time FD on several boards and floated one of the turnarounds on AIM.

His input at Othrys combines technical skills in commercial analysis, financial controls, governance and general management with a creative and independent mentality able to visualise change strategies that inspire trust and buy-in from stakeholders at every level. Gerry is acting as a part-time, interim advisor pending an appointment to the Board.

Head of Legal
Dominic Prentis

A French-English bilingual lawyer for nearly 20 years, Dominic has wide-ranging transactional and operational experience in the CIS, Africa and Europe. He advises companies and their owners on cross-border transactions and operations, working closely with local counterparts to ensure that commercial objectives are achieved in compliant with applicable laws. He advises listed companies and London Stock Exchange advisers on corporate governance and regulatory issues.

Founders Story

In 2016, the founders of Othrys came together around a simple idea. They had spent decades working in sensitive parts of government to solve complex, sometimes dangerous and usually intractable problems in the toughest corners of the world and saw the opportunity to adapt their unique experience and capabilities to advising the commercial and development sectors on their challenges. It quickly became clear that doing so required bespoke, trusted and highly skilled teams that could be precisely tailored to meet the unique situations their clients faced.

Drawing initially on their own connections, they began to establish an ever-evolving network of networks, comprising individually vetted specialists from the public and private sectors, as well as from academia and the non-governmental space – all sharing the Othrys founders’ public sector values and ethics.

Based on feedback from these specialists, it became clear that, despite the depth and range of their talents, former government figures faced a number of key challenges in transitioning from public service to the commercial sector. These ranged from basic "search" and resource issues for individual consultants to more complex difficulties around unleashing great ideas and bringing them to market. The net result was that an extraordinary pool of talent remained largely untapped.

Othrys saw the opportunity this presented and established the Othrys Association. By providing both a community and a shared administrative platform, as well as a coaching and mentoring function to support early- and mid-stage entrepreneurs, the Othrys Association harnesses the power of its members and brings to market flexible solutions to wide-ranging challenges.

In creating a safe environment for this professional transition and ideas generation, around a core public service philosophy, Othrys has built a network-based model that nurtures creativity and rewards collaboration over competition. Our aim in doing so is to bring our clients confidence and security as they navigate an uncertain world.

Our Associates

The Othrys network includes experts on defence, security, diplomacy, intelligence, strategy, risk analysis, management consulting, training and the military.

We can call on a wide range of languages including Arabic, Chinese, Russian, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Danish, Kurdish, Mongolian, Romanian, Swedish, Turkish and Hebrew speakers. Associates in the network are former ambassadors, intelligence and security officers, military attachés, risk analysts, senior police officers, HM inspectors of constabulary, special forces personnel, and subject-matter experts on investigations, strategic communications and information, cyber security, crisis media communications, counter-terrorism, counter-extremism, and various other security-related fields.

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