Mayor of London appoints first Chief Digital Officer

London is getting its first ever Chief Digital Officer, the Mayor's office has announced today.

Theo Blackwell, a former cabinet member at Camden Council, will take responsibility for helping London continue to be the technology powerhouse it has become over the past few years.

Mr Blackwell will work closely with the Mayor's office, particularly the Smart London Board, to create a new "Smart London Plan" that looks to outline how the capital can benefit from embracing new technologies, with cybersecurity, open data and connectivity all at the forefront.

He will also look to build collaboration across London’s boroughs when it comes to public technology schemes, and encourage the digital transformation of public services.

"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," he said in a statement. 

"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."

Figures from the Mayor's office estimate that London already has more than 47,000 digital technology companies, employing approximately 240,000 people. The number of tech companies is forecast to increase by a third and a further 44,500 jobs will have been created by 2026. 

“I am determined to make London the world’s leading ‘smart city’ with digital technology and data at the heart of making our capital a better place to live, work and visit," said Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who made the appointment of a CDO a key manifesto pledge.

"We already lead in digital technology, data science and innovation and I want us to make full use of this in transforming our public services for Londoners and the millions of visitors to our great city.

“I am delighted to appoint Theo Blackwell as London’s first Chief Digital Officer, and I know he will use his experience working in the technology sector and developing public services to improve the lives of all Londoners.”