After a highly distinguished career in public service spanning more than five decades, the Honorable J. Michael “Mike” McConnell, VADM, USN, Ret., has retired as executive director of the Florida Center for Cybersecurity at the University of South Florida (USF), also known as “Cyber Florida” as of June 30, 2022. General Frank McKenzie, USMC, Ret., has been appointed by USF President Rhea Law to be Cyber Florida’s new executive director. General McKenzie will also be leading USF’s new Global and National Security Institute [link to USF news article].

McConnell first served as chair of the board of advisors upon the center’s launch in 2013. He assumed the role of executive director in February 2020 at the behest of then-USF President Steven C. Currall. During his two-and-a-half-year tenure, McConnell elevated Cyber Florida from a regional center to a truly statewide entity, helping to guide policy at the state level and expanding the center’s reach beyond the State University System of Florida to include the Florida College System and the state’s public school districts, the state’s defense extensive defense industry, and several federal agencies. Under his guidance, the center also forged strong relationships with Florida’s military community, robust defense industry, and several federal agencies, including helping to bring in several million dollars in grants from the National Security Agency.

“We sincerely thank Vice Admiral McConnell for his decorated career of service to our country and his many important contributions to the success of Cyber Florida.  We wish him the best in a well-deserved retirement,” USF President Rhea Law said. “With the foundation Vice Admiral McConnell helped establish, I look forward to seeing Cyber Florida continue to strengthen the cybersecurity industry across our state and the nation in the future.”

General Frank McKenzie, who recently retired from the U.S. Marine Corps as commander of U.S. Central Command, has taken over as Cyber Florida’s new executive director as well as leading USF’s new Global and National Security Institute.

“Vice Admiral McConnell has set Cyber Florida on a solid trajectory to position Florida as a national industry leader and model state for cybersecurity, and I intend to carry on that mission leveraging the strong momentum he and his team have created,” said McKenzie.