by Chloe Dobinson

Mayor of London appoints Theo Blackwell as the capital’s first Chief Digital Officer

Aug 25, 2017
CareersIT LeadershipIT Strategy

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has appointed former Camden councillor Theo Blackwell as the city’s first Chief Digital Officer.

As London’s first CDO, Blackwell will be accountable for the capital’s digital strategy across public services, the Greater London authority group and digital transformation projects throughout the wider public sector. (See also: Richard Corbridge appointed CIO at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust)

Sadiq Khan’s 2016 manifesto pledged to appoint a CDO to oversee growth in the technology sector, plus focusing on building digital inclusion across London and “leading on cyber security”.

The mayor’s office said that the appointment will help London become the “world’s smartest city”, as well as transforming the way public services are designed and delivered to make them more efficient.

Blackwell joins the mayor’s team following work at government technology accelerator Public Group where he advised startups on the growing market in local public services. The CDO will also work to build collaboration across London’s boroughs and businesses to further digital transformation in public services.

Blackwell said in a statement: “The new Chief Digital Officer post is an amazing opportunity to make our capital even more open to innovation, support jobs and investment and make our public services more effective.

“The pace of change over the next decade requires public services to develop a stronger relationship with the tech sector. Our purpose is to fully harness London’s world-class potential to make our public services faster and more reliable at doing things we expect online, but also adaptable enough to overcome the capital’s most complex challenges.”

As cabinet member for finance, technology and growth for Camden council, Blackwell helped to build Camden’s reputation in digital and public data.

Blackwell will also be responsible for delivering a strategy for the London Office for Technology & Innovation plan that was announced by the mayor at London Tech Week. (Read next: Metro Bank promotes Director of Digital Martyn Atkinson to CIO role)