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UKtech50: The 2021 longlist

Each year, Computer Weekly launches its annual search for the most influential people in UK IT, where the tech industry nominates who it thinks should be in the top 50 – here is the longlist for 2021

Finding the top 50 most influential people in UK IT is a mammoth task, with so many deserving candidates, particularly in a year heavily dominated by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Each year, the list of nominations grows, as the tech industry tells us who it thinks deserves a place in the top 50.

The past year has been different to most, bringing different types of challenges. Leaders in all parts of the tech industry, from startups to government, have shown incredible spirit, drive and determination to ensure the industry and its people continue to thrive.

The shortlist of our top 50 names chosen by our expert panel of judges will be published shortly, allowing readers to vote on who they think should be chosen as the most influential leader in UK IT to help the judges make their final decision. The winner will be announced during our virtual UKtech50 event on 25 February 2021.

It might have been a challenging year, but it’s also been a year that has shown amazing talent and resolve among the country’s technology leaders, which is why Computer Weekly has decided to reveal all of the top 100 nominees who were considered for the top 50 list.

A huge congratulations to all nominees on the longlist. It is a great achievement and shows how special the UK tech industry is.

The 2021 100 most influential leaders in UK IT are (in alphabetical order):

  • Alex Chisholm, COO, Civil Service; permanent secretary, Cabinet Office
  • Ali Parsa, founder and CEO, Babylon Health
  • Alice Bentinck, co-founder, Entrepreneur First
  • Alistair Forbes, CEO, Scottish Tech Army
  • Amali de Alwis, managing director, Microsoft for Startups UK
  • Andy Isherwood, EMEA managing director, Amazon Web Services
  • Anne Boden, CEO, Starling Bank
  • Anne Marie Neatham, commercial director for the office of the CTO, Ocado Technology
  • Anne-Marie Imafidon, CEO, Stemettes
  • Brent Hoberman, entrepreneur; chair of Founders Factory and Founders Forum
  • Caroline Dinenage, minister of state for digital and culture, Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport
  • Carrie Anne Philbin, director of education, Raspberry PI Foundation
  • Charles Forte, CIO, Ministry of Defence
  • Chi Onwurah, shadow minister for industrial strategy, science and innovation
  • Chris Meah, founder and CEO, School of Code
  • Cindy Rose, president, Microsoft Western Europe
  • Clifford Cohen, CIO, Asos
  • Colin Birchenhall, CTO, Scottish Local Government Digital Office
  • Colin Cook, digital director, Scottish Government
  • Craig Bright, group CIO, Barclays
  • Daljit Rehal, CDO, HM Revenue and Customs
  • Dame Wendy Hall, professor of computer science at University of Southampton; UK’s AI skills champion
  • Dara Nasr, managing director, Twitter UK
  • David McColl, associate director – digital, NHS Education for Scotland
  • David Watson, founder, Ohme
  • Debbie Forster, CEO, Tech Talent Charter
  • Demis Hassabis, founder and CEO, DeepMind
  • Deryck Mithelson, director of national digital and information security, NHS National Services Scotland
  • Dylan Roberts, CDIO, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Ed Conolly, group CTO, Ovo Energy
  • Elizabeth Denham, UK information commissioner
  • Elizabeth Fairley, founder and COO, Talking Medicines
  • Flavilla Fongang, managing director, 3 Colours Rule; founder, TLA Black Women in Tech
  • Franscesca Carlesi, co-founder and CEO, Molo Finance
  • Freddie Quek, CTO, Times Higher Education
  • Garry Fingland, CIO, The Weir Group
  • Gerard Grech, CEO, Tech Nation
  • Guus Dekkers, CTO, Tesco
  • Guy Farley, CTO and co-founder, Bought By Many
  • Hadley Beeman, chief technology advisor to secretary of state for health, Department for Health and Social Care
  • Helen Milner, CEO, Good Things Foundation
  • Iain Wallace, lead developer, NHS Education for Scotland
  • Jack Stockdale, CTO, Darktrace
  • Jacqueline De Rojas, president, TechUK
  • James Matthews, CEO, Ocado Technology
  • Janine Cook, public sector vice-president, IBM
  • Jeni Tennison, vice-president and chief strategy adviser, Open Data Institute
  • Jeremy Fleming, director, GCHQ
  • Jo Twist, CEO, UKIE
  • Joanna Davinson, executive director, Central Digital and Data Office, UK government
  • Joanna Shields, CEO, Benevolent AI
  • Joe Baguley, CTO, EMEA, VMware
  • John Boumphrey, country manager, Amazon UK
  • John Lawson, CIO, BAE Systems
  • Julian David, CEO, techUK
  • Lindy Cameron, CEO, National Cyber Security Centre
  • Luciano Floridi, professor of philosophy and ethics of information, director, Digital Ethics Lab, Oxford Internet Institute
  • Luke Robertson, group CTO, Centrica
  • Maggie Philbin, CEO, TeenTech
  • Marc Waters, UKI managing director, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Mark Denney, director of IT, EU transition and Covid-19 chancellor schemes, HM Revenue and Customs
  • Marta Krupinska, head of Google for Startups UK
  • Martha Lane Fox, entrepreneur and founder, Dot Everyone
  • Martyn Wallace, CDO, Scottish Local Government Digital office
  • Matt Brittin, president, EMEA business and operations, Google
  • Matt Hancock, secretary of state for health and social care
  • Matt Warman, minister for digital infrastructure, Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport
  • Matthew Gould, CEO, NHSX
  • Mohamed Hammady, group CTO, Sky
  • Natasha Phillips, chief nursing information officer, NHSX
  • Nick Dearden, CTO, OAG Aviation Worldwide
  • Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president, EMEA, Facebook
  • Nigel Toon, CEO, Graphcore
  • Oliver Dowden, secretary of state, Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport
  • Paul Fletcher, CEO, BCS the Chartered Institute of IT
  • Paul Wilmott, non-executive chair, Central Digital and Data Office, UK government
  • Peter O’Kane, interim CTO, BBC
  • Phil Jordan, group CIO, Sainsbury’s
  • Phil Swan, CIO and digital lead, Greater Manchester Combined Authority
  • Philip Jansen, CEO, BT
  • Pip White, UKI managing director, Google Cloud
  • Poppy Gustafsson, co-CEO, Darktrace
  • Robin Tombs, CEO, Yoti
  • Russ Shaw, founder, Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates
  • Ryan Edwards, Founder & CEO, Audoo
  • Sarah Wilkinson, CEO, NHS Digital
  • Shaun Pearce, CTO, Gousto
  • Sherry Coutu, angel investor, founder of ScaleUp Institute; founder, Founders4Schools
  • Simon McKinnon, CDIO, Department for Work and Pensions
  • Simon Segars, CEO, Arm Holdings
  • Sonia Patel, CIO, NHSX
  • Sue Daley, associate director technology and innovation, TechUK
  • Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder, CognitionX; chair, government’s AI Council
  • Tara Donnelly, CDO, NHSX
  • Tara McGeehan, president, CGI UK
  • Tessa Clarke, co-founder and CEO, Olio
  • Theo Blackwell, CDO to the Mayor of London
  • Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web inventor; director of Open Data Institute
  • Tom Blomfield, president, Monzo
  • Tom Read, CEO, Government Digital Service
  • Zahra Bahrololoumi, CEO, Saleforce UK

The UKtech50 list has been decided by a judging panel representing every area of the UK IT profession which has selected the top 50 candidates based on the following criteria:

  • Influence: What authority or ability does the person have – either through their personal position or the role they hold – to personally influence the development of UK IT, or to influence others in positions of authority?
  • Achievements: What has the person achieved in the past 12 months to help the development of UK IT?
  • Profile: Is the person recognised as a role model for aspiring leaders? How widely are they acknowledged by their peers as an authority and influence on UK IT?
  • Leadership: Does the person demonstrate the skills and experience necessary to be seen as a leader in the development of IT in the UK? Do they have a leadership role and does that help them develop the role of IT in the UK?
  • Potential: How likely is it that the person will have a significant impact on UK IT in the next 12 months? Will their authority and responsibility grow?

The shortlist of the top 50 names chosen by our judges will be published shortly, allowing our readers to vote on who they think should get the top spot on the 2021 list. This year, Computer Weekly is partnering with Harvey Nash, and the winner will be announced during a virtual UKtech50 event on 25 February. 

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