London Mayor hires former PR man as Chief Digi Officer

Theo Blackwell asked to make capital the 'smartest' city on the planet

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London Mayor Sadiq Khan has slotted former PR man and public sector tech policy specialist Theo Blackwell into the chief digital officer slot that opened up months ago.

Back in May, El Reg reported the role was advertised with a tidy salary of £107,000 a year - enough to keep ten of our journalists in booze and ciggies for a whole week.

Today’s the Mayor’s office confirmed Blackwell - a former PR man who discovered he could talk the talk and crossed over into the world of digitisation in central and local government - as its latest addition.

Apparently, Blackwell will help the Mayor realise his dream of making the Brit capital one the “smartest” cities on the planet, and build “collaboration across London’s boroughs and businesses, to drive digital transformation of public services”.

Blackwell started out his working life as a Parliamentary assistant to Ross Cranston QC MP, before he became a chief policy specialist at The Work Foundation. He then moved into a couple of roles within PR, before going on to advise Martha Lane-Fox in her role as Digital Champion.

In the last five years, Blackwell was head of policy and affairs for gaming group The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment; Cabinet Member for finance, tech and growth at the London Borough of Camden; and a policy fellow at Public.io, which helps start-ups win business with the public sector.

The Mayor’s Office said London has 47,000 digital tech outfits that employs 240,000 heads - the number of tech firm are forecast to grow by a third by 2026, creating an additional 44,500. ®

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