Martin Arpo resigns as deputy DG of Estonian Internal Security Service

New headquarters of the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS, or Kapo) in Tallinn. September 2023.
New headquarters of the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS, or Kapo) in Tallinn. September 2023. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

After a decade as deputy director general, Martin Arpo is leaving the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS, or Kapo) as of Tuesday, daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) writes. Andres Ratassepp will be replacing Arpo as deputy chief of the national security agency.

Arpo first started work as an investigator in 2000, and for the last ten years has served as deputy director general of the ISS, EPL writes (link in Estonian).

"I suppose I've been in this building for a long time already, and in several leadership positions for a long time too," Arpo acknowledged. "Ten years serving in deputy director general positions, the most recent six of which in the same deputy director general position. It's still a personal decision above all; my goal is to have more personal time."

He said he wants to spend more time in nature and travel more than has been possible until now, as well as do more of those things himself that nowadays people tend to hire others to do in order to be able to do their own main job.

Arpo confirmed that he is not resigning from the ISS because of its new chief – Margo Palloson – who took over as director general this June.

"I had made this decision before Margo was named director general, and would have made the same one regardless of who was named director general," he explained, adding that he also hadn't been interested in the top spot himself.

'Ratassepp has proven himself'

Replacing Arpo as one of Margo Palloson's three deputy director generals will be Andres Ratassepp, who has been serving as director of ISS headquarters.

Arpo admitted that there likely isn't a perfect time to quit a job, but confirmed that he's glad he's been able to help his successor settle into his new role.

"I'm not worried about Andres," he said. "He has experience, energy, and has very much proven himself as the head of a responsible unit."

Ratassepp acknowledged that he's taking office amid a difficult security situation.

"In times of military crisis, both in terms of Russian aggression against Ukraine as well as at the height of the Israel-Hamas conflict, we have to investigate damaged undersea infrastructure and process complex corruption cases," he said, highlighting several current key issues.

"Our duty is to prevent and combat threats to the security of the state as effectively as possible," he continued. "Together with our good partners, we will do our best to mitigate these risks in Estonia."

Ratassepp will be joining current deputies Aleksander Toots and Martin Perling in the role.

The minister of the interior appoints deputy directors general on the recommendation of the ISS' director general.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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