Editorial

London Mayor announces search for major strategic IT advisor

Sadiq Khan says he wants to recruit the capital’s first ever chief digital officer

Posted 4 May 2017 by

Cue ‘The Apprentice’ music: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan yesterday launched his search to find London’s first ever Chief Digital Officer (CDO).

The new senior tech figure will be expected to work with the Mayor’s Office, Khan’s Smart London Board, local authorities and the technology sector to encourage collaboration and adoption of common standards around data and service transformation.

The aim: drive the development of smart-city technology, building London’s reputation as “the city that the world looks to for leadership in urban innovation”, says Kahn’s team.

They will also work with to develop – then deliver – a new ‘Smart London Strategy’ that will open up the capital to innovation through smart technologies and programmes, while help the city’s leaders “anticipate the impacts of new disruptive and transformative technologies and ensure timely responses from the GLA group”, both in terms of policy and action.

Rounding out this demanding job spec: they’ll also have to find time in their day planner to promote and support the implementation of the Mayor’s digital inclusion and cyber-security policies.

“London is a world-leading hub for digital technology, data science and urban innovation,” claimed Kahn.

“These technologies have the potential to transform the way that Londoners and visitors experience our city.

“I want to take the digital transformation of our public services to the next level, so we can improve the ways in which we plan and deliver public services for Londoners.

“I am delighted to begin my search for a Chief Digital Officer, so we can make London an even smarter smart city and use our incredible technological abilities to the best effect.”

‘An essential role’

The Mayor’s Office says London is widely regarded as Europe’s leading technology hub, as it’s home to 40,000 digital technology companies  employing approximately 250,000 people, according to Oxford Economics.

More than a third of these businesses have been set up in the last five years, and it is forecast that a further 12,500 will have been created by 2025.

Kahn wants London to be the world’s leading ‘smart city’ – with digital technology at the heart of making the capital an even better place to live, work and invest, and the CDO post was a manifesto commitment.

Welcoming the news, another Chief Digital Officer – Adyoulike‘s Dale Lovell – noted that only ten years ago the job simply didn’t exist.

Lovell, who is also MD of the London based ad tech firm, points out that as recently as 2013 there were only about 500 such posts in the world.

“However, the role is now essential – not only for companies, but also for government and regional authorities.”