London asks top tech figures to help shape future business policy

Khan’s new business advisory team is a quarter tech-based – and many are women, too

Posted 30 November 2016 by Gary Flood

'Kathryn Parsons, Decoded' by gds team on FlickrLondon’s mayor Sadiq Khan has named a number of top tech executives to a special panel of business advisers, in a move confirming the importance of the sector to the capital.

Both international and home-grown firms have been asked to help shape the city’s policy, including Facebook, in the shape of the executive responsible for European operations, Nicola Mendelsohn.

Others include Debbie Wosskow, founder and chief executive of sharing economy start-up Love Home Swap, Omid Ashtari, general manager of Citymapper, Kathryn Parsons, the entrepreneur behind technology education company DeCoded, and Sarah Wood, co-founder and chief executive of video advertising tech group Unruly.

As a result, nearly a third of the 16 members of the group work in technology businesses.

Khan’s move sharply contrasts with the approach of the new Prime Minister, who has shut down the advisory group formed by her predecessor, David Cameron.

Ten of the group’s 16 members are also women.

The panel will meet quarterly and is tasked to provide insight on the impact of economic conditions and policy decisions taken elsewhere, on business in London.

“Having helped to run and grow a business, I know at first hand the challenges that our business community faces,” Khan said.

“However, London is home to an unrivalled pool of business talent, and of business leaders who want to use their knowledge and experience to the benefit of our city.

“London business is still coming to terms with the recent vote to leave the EU and I am looking forward to working with the Business Advisory Board to strengthen London’s shield against the expected blows from Brexit and to seize the opportunities to show how London is open to jobs, growth and investment.”

“In this period of change, it is important to have initiatives and boards like this to advise and guide businesses as well as shape policy to ensure London retains this positive position, and continues to be a progressive capital that is fair and full of opportunity for all,” added Wosskow.