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West Midlands Mayor on the hunt for chief digital officer

The mayor wants to appoint a chief digital officer to drive forward the region’s digital strategy and help West Midlands grow as a leading tech hub

West Midlands mayor Andy Street is looking for a chief digital officer (CDO) to drive and support digital innovation across the region.  

The move to appoint a CDO is part of the mayor’s digital strategy, which aims to support digital innovation across the region and continue work to make West Midlands a leading UK tech hub.

Street, who was elected as the region’s first ever mayor in May 2017, sees digital as a key driver in delivering prosperity across the West Midland and, during his election campaign, he published an ambitious digital manifesto.

In November 2017, West Midlands secured a second devolution deal, following on from the original one made in 2015. The deal set out a vision to harness “the power of digital in the public sector and create the right environment for tech startups to flourish”.  

As part of the deal, and the government’s efforts to expand Tech City into Tech Nation, a tech hub will also be created in Birmingham.

The mayor has enlisted the help of recruiter Harvey Nash to find a CDO, who will be responsible for implementing the region’s digital strategy and act as a senior digital advisor to the mayor.

In a LinkedIn post advertising the search for a CDO, Street said he is looking for someone who is “as passionate about the success of the region and digital as we are”. “Someone who is driven by the opportunity to bring about real change and positively impact the lives of millions of people,” he said.

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“We believe digital is vital to the success of our economy. It is the golden thread across all industries, from construction and manufacturing to life science and professional services, which will provide jobs in the 21st century. If you share this view and have the skills to get the job done, we want to hear from you.”

The CDO will be focused on several key areas, which, as well as the digital strategy, includes driving and enabling innovation in local government through the use of data, innovation challenges and collaboration, working to increase coverage, performance and innovation of digital infrastructure “to build a super-connected region”, and ensure the West Midlands secures “significant investment” from both the private and public sector, “including devolved government funds for our region”.

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