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Interview:


Michael de Crespigny


From chartered accountant to CEO of the ISF, Michael de Crespigny has spent his career assessing risk. Here, he tells Eleanor Dallaway why his


career has been left to chance, why the information security industry is going through its adolescence and how Howard Schmidt’s were big shoes to fill


M 10


ichael de Crespigny does not strike me as a man who bases his life choices on luck. Someone who


takes challenges in stride, yes, but someone who leaves his career to chance? Not so much. Which is why I’m surprised when de Crespigny tells me that he has “not planned many of the moves in my career. They have all been a matter of being in the right place at the right time”.


As someone who has spent most of his working life assessing risk (and advocating information security risk assessment), it seems almost ironic that his approach to his own career has been somewhat adverse to too much forward-planning


and structure. Perhaps it’s the Australian in him. Nonetheless, judging from his current position and CV to date, it seems to have paid off.


Unlike many of the information security professionals I’ve profi led over the years, de Crespigny’s roots are fi rmly in business and the fi nancial sector, and prior to his role at the Information Security Forum (ISF), most of his career was spent at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). “I found my way, by matter of luck, into PwC in Melbourne, where I became a chartered accountant”, he recalls. Having studied for a business degree in Melbourne, Australia, de Crespigny said he embarked on this path


“because lots of other people were doing it”. Thus began his career in auditing. The IT piece of the puzzle came to fruition when de Crespigny developed an interest in computerization, “and I became known as a bit of an expert in technology – how systems and programming worked”, he recounts. His expertise was cemented by a transfer to New York in the late eighties to “work on a global project looking at systems and controls. Of which, of course, security was one of the fundamentals”. It was around this time that de Crespigny became a partner in the fi rm. A decade later, and de Crespigny was re- locating again – this time to London, which


May/June 2012


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