Executive Management

Mike Hitchcock OBE, Chief Executive Officer

Before joining Spartent, Mike held appointments as Regional Security Director for Anadarko, Chief Operating Officer with the Good Governance Group, Chief Advisor Global Security with Rio Tinto and Director with Control Risks Group.

Based in London and Washington, Mike’s appointments with Control Risks included Director for Crisis and Security Management, Director for Iraq and a member of its Executive Committee. As Control Risks’ Head of International Asset Protection, he was intimately involved in resolving crises in a number of African and Middle Eastern countries, acquiring a detailed understanding of regional security issues, particularly in the oil and gas industry.

Mike served as a Royal Marine and with the Special Boat Service seeing active service in Northern Ireland, the Falklands and Iraq. As a senior staff officer at the Directorate of Special Forces and as Commanding Officer Special Boat Service, he was intimately involved in training overseas Special Forces and Cabinet Office sponsored anti-piracy, anti-narcotic and counter terrorist operations. Prior to leaving the service in 1994, he was appointed Head of Terrorist Intelligence Liaison with the Defence Intelligence Staff in Whitehall.

Mike is a graduate of the Royal Naval Staff College, Chairman of the Special Boat Service Association and a member of the Security Institute.

Richard Hickson, Managing Director

Before joining Spartent, Richard was Chief Executive Officer of Hill & Associates for nine years, where he was based in Singapore and ran the company’s risk consulting operations in 14 countries throughout Asia and the Middle East.

Previously, Richard spent five years at Brink’s Inc., the US-based security services company. Having been recruited to run the UK cash services operation, he was promoted first to manage the Europe, Middle East and Africa region and then again to be President of the company where he was responsible for the US$1.6 billion operation active in 53 countries. Prior to his time at Brink’s, Richard held several positions at Holmes Protection Group, Inc. a New York based electronic security services company. During a six-year career at Holmes, culminating in his being appointed CEO, Richard was heavily involved in the financial and operational turnaround of the group that prepared the way for its flotation on NASDAQ and eventual sale to Tyco. Richard’s first commercial position was Executive Vice President of Integrated Security Services, based in Washington DC, where he managed all North and South American assignments for a British risk management consultancy.

Richard joined the private sector in 1986 after eight years’ military service during which time he served with the British Army in Germany, Northern Ireland, the UK and Zimbabwe and with the Sultan’s Armed Forces in Oman. He holds an MBA from INSEAD, the international business school in France, and an MA from St. Andrews University in Scotland.

Jeremy Merchant CGC, Director of Operations

Jeremy served in the Royal Marines and Special Boat Service for over 30 years.  His diverse military career has left him with significant experience of operating in and understanding complex multi-cultural environments in situations ranging from peacekeeping through combating organised crime and terrorism, to war fighting.  

Prior to leaving the Services in 2012, Jeremy held a broad range of command appointments in the UK Special Forces and wider Royal Marines. He has been responsible for managing the individual and collective training requirements for large numbers of personnel in support of a wide range of activities and brokering and establishing political, legal and administrative arrangements to enable a variety of complex military operations in the UK and abroad. He has been involved in all major conflicts since 1981 and was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for his role on field operations.

Since leaving the Services, Jeremy has worked with Spartent’s clients addressing crisis and security management challenges in the Middle East and Africa, particularly Chad, the DRC, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, in Europe and in Latin America.

Jeremy is a graduate of the Joint Services Staff College, holds a Chartered Management Institute Level 8 Certificate in Strategic Direction and Leadership, is a licenced SIA manager and is a member of the American Society for Industrial Security.