Eric van der Kleij will step down as chief executive of the UK’s Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO) when his two year contract comes to an end this summer.
A spokesperson told Techworld that van der Kleij's formal end date is not yet confirmed, but that he will begin transitioning from the end of July.
The TCIO is a subsidiary of the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) department. It was launched in March 2011 to attract new companies and investors to East London, and to provide support to Tech City companies seeking to expand internationally.
Van der Kleij has been a high-profile figure within Tech City, and remains a vocal supporter of local innovation. His stance has always been that the government should not interfere too much in the development of the cluster, but simply throw a spotlight on what is happening there.
The TCIO spokesperson admitted “concern” about the impact that van der Kleij's departure will have on Tech City, but added that “there is a very strong team behind him”.
The organisation has put up a notice on its website stating that it is looking for a new CEO to support the growth of the technology cluster in East London, and help make it Europe’s centre of innovation and the location of choice for tech and digital companies and investors.
“Our CEO will lead our strategy, and in particular, be responsible for the development of the pipeline of major corporate inward investors and raising the international profile of Tech City,” it said.
A full recruitment advertisement will be posted in the coming weeks.
The spokesperson added that the TCIO would be seeking a candidate who could bring a similar level of public sector insight as van der Kleij, who is a “serial entrepreneur,” having created several telecommunications companies.
“When he came on, he was passionate about the idea of supporting the cluster that was there, and he was an entrepreneur, so he had a lot of experience that could help,” she said.
“He was already part of UKTI's global entrepreneurs programme, so he was loosely connected with government. He just wants to get back to doing entrepreneurial stuff.”
Tech City is the name given by the government to the cluster of high-tech companies in East London. The number of companies has reportedly grown from 200 to 700 since the government initiative was announced in 2010, and includes the likes of Cisco, Vodafone, Google and Intel, as well as a wide range of start-ups.