The UK’s new digital champion – the first Director General for Digital & Media – has pledged he will ensure that Britain is the safest place to do business and go online and the best place in the world to start and grow a digital company.
That is the rallying cry of Matthew Gould, who will be based in the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). The fact that he is a former British ambassador might not – on its own, at least – make him the stand-out candidate for the job, however, his experience of the digital world is not to be sniffed at.
As British ambassador to Israel, Gould set up the UK Israel tech hub, which laid the foundations for the UK and Israel’s tech relationship. He also led the Cabinet Office’s cyber security unit as its Director of Cyber Security and Information Assurance, focused on keeping Britain safe from cyber attack, including running the National Cyber Security Programme and helping to develop the Cyber Essentials Scheme.
Gould has been tasked with overseeing the DCMS’ digital and media policy brief, which aims to equip the nation with the skills and technology it needs to create tomorrow’s world-leading digital businesses.
He will also take a prominent role in making sure the UK has the world-class connectivity it needs and supporting British companies with access to infrastructure and technology. In addition, Gould will help build digital ecosystems where bright ideas can become successful companies; as well as attempt to reduce the number of people excluded from the digital economy.
Gould said: “Our economy is powered by innovation and we want Britain to be the safest place to do business and go online. But if we want the UK to prosper we need to make sure we have world-class connectivity, and if we want an inclusive society, we need to tackle digital exclusion and make sure everyone has the digital skills they need.
“I’m determined to tackle these challenges to help make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital company.”
In his new role, Gould will work closely with Liam Maxwell, the Government’s National Technology Adviser, and Antonia Romeo, the Government’s Special Envoy to the US technology companies, and Her Majesty’s Consul General in New York.
How Gould and Maxwell will work together is not yet clear. Maxwell, who also reports to DCMS, is responsible for co-ordinating policy across Whitehall to build the digital economy and attract technology companies and investment into the UK.
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