The next head of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has been announced as Canadian Elizabeth Denham (pictured), subject to final approvals.
Denham currently serves as Information and Privacy Commissioner in British Columbia, and will take over from Christopher Graham as head of the ICO in the summer on a five-year term and a salary of £140,000.
She will join the ICO at a time of great change in the data protection landscape. The European Commission’s General Data Protection Regulation is about to reach the statute books and will radically change the scope of data protection in the UK, including the chance to levy far bigger fines for data loss incidents.
Denham's appointment is subject to scrutiny by the Culture, Media and Sports Select Committee and final (ceremonial) approval by The Queen.
This approval is a formality given that John Whittingdale, secretary of state for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has nominated Denham for the role.
“I am delighted to put forward Elizabeth Denham as the UK’s next Information Commissioner. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role having been British Columbia’s Information and Privacy Commissioner for the past six years,” he said.
Baroness Neville-Rolfe, minister for data protection, also gave her backing to the appointment. “The work of the Information Commissioner is vital for public and business alike. I’m pleased that we are recommending Elizabeth Denham to take on this role," she said.
"She has a track record of working with business and other stakeholders, as well as a proactive approach to enforcing data protection law.”
Denham said she was “honoured to be nominated” and excited to join the ICO as data privacy becomes a major challenge.
“I believe the rapid pace of technological change we face will continue to accelerate and present challenges to information rights. We must ensure access to information while maintaining high standards of data protection,” she added.
“The ICO has a global reputation for practical, innovative and responsive regulation. I look forward to contributing to this work.”
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