Lobban graduated from Leeds University with a BA in French and has also undertaken the Higher Command and Staff course at the Ministry of Defence's staff college at Shrivenham. He joined GCHQ in 1983, progressing through a variety of roles before joining the GCHQ Board in 2001. Whilst on the Board he was responsible for moving the operations of GCHQ into its new base at Benhall, Gloucestershire. Prior to being appointed Director, Lobban was Director-General (Operations); having taken up this post in early 2004. He became Director in July 2008. He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the New Year Honours 2006 for services to national security in the United Kingdom. He is reported to be a keen supporter of Everton Football Club.