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Salford gets chief digital officer

Jon Corner has been appointed the city’s first chief digital officer to lead Salford’s smart city and digital technology work

The mayor of Salford and the Salford Digital Collaborative have appointed Jon Corner as the city’s first chief digital officer (CDO).

The new CDO will lead Salford’s efforts to become a smart city, helping to grow and deliver a digital transformation strategy for the city, according to Dennett.  

Salford mayor, Paul Dennett, said the role is “crucial for Salford’s future as a leading smart city with digital technology and job creation at its heart”.

“As CDO, [Corner] will become the glue for collaboration, and impact and represent Salford’s interests both locally and internationally as a leading digital city,” he said.

Corner will take on the Salford CDO role while continuing in his current job as CEO of the Landing, a company which gives SMEs and micro-businesses the opportunity to work alongside larger digital, media and technology businesses.

Commenting on his appointment, Corner said it offers “an amazing opportunity” to drive the city’s digital ambitions.

“It’s an exciting challenge to fully harness the city’s potential and identify overlapping agendas and collaborations in the region,” he said. “I have some ambitious targets, and with some significant pan-region projects already in place around connectivity, digital inclusion, cyber security, skills, health innovation and smart cities, I’m confident we can make a big impact.”

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Salford is part of Greater Manchester, which mayor Andy Burnham plans to make into a world-leading digital hub, the UK’s leading digital city and among the top five in Europe.  

The 2017 Tech Nation report found the region has the UK’s fourth-highest total digital turnover at £2.9bn, and nearly 900 startups have begun life in the city – many of these are based at Salford’s Media City.

TechUK has long been encouraging city mayors to ensure digital is on the top of the agenda, and the trade body’s CEO, Julian David, said Salford appointing a CDO is “a clear indication of the region’s digital desire and ambition to be a leading smart city”.  

“Over the last year, we have seen an important trend towards the appointment of CDOs who have a crucial role in transforming local public service outcomes, facilitating collaboration and helping to create smart communities and places where citizens want to live and work,” he said. “We urge leaders of other city areas to take note.”

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