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Co-op digital chief Mike Bracken quits to focus on digital government consultancy

The former GDS chief is leaving the Co-op to work on advising governments around the world on their digital strategy

Former UK government digital chief Mike Bracken is leaving his job as chief digital officer at the Co-operative Group to work with governments around the world on their digital plans.

Bracken joined the Co-op in October 2015, after quitting as the head of the Government Digital Service (GDS) following disagreements with senior civil service leaders about the direction and funding of the organisation.

He initially worked for the Co-op three days a week, while setting up a consultancy with former GDS colleagues, called Public Digital, to help public institutions around the world tackle digital transformation.

When he leaves his current role, Bracken will work with governments in Peru, Canada and Uruguay, among others. He was recently named as a visiting professor at the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London, and has become an advisor to the Inter-American Development Bank, as well as the Centre for Public Impact.

He is also part of the independent review group at Google’s London-based artificial intelligence business, DeepMind, and is due to publish a book on digital government later this year.

“It’s been a brilliant two years with a fantastic organisation,” said Bracken, writing on his personal blog. “As I said when I joined, my focus was to create a Co-op fit for the digital age, based on an open, agile culture and excellent digital services.

“I had intended initially to only work three days a week for the Co-op, but found myself so engaged with the organisation that I had less time than I would have liked to continue my non-executive work.”

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During his two years at the Co-op, Bracken and his team delivered a new membership platform and introduced new digital products in Co-op businesses such as funeral care and food.

Since his departure from the UK government, GDS has had two new chiefs and seen a complete overhaul of its leadership team. The organisation was given a £450m budget to drive digital transformation in the 2015 spending review, but it’s not yet clear what the priorities will be under the recently elected new government.

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