The UK's Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO) has appointed Benjamin Southworth – one of the founders and organisers of Digital Sizzle and Silicon Drinkabout – as Deputy CEO.
The news comes after Eric van der Kleij announced last month that he would step down as Chief Executive of TCIO when his two-year contract comes to an end this summer.
The organisation said at the time that it intends to split the role into two – a CEO, who will be responsible for promoting the East London hub to the rest of the world, and a Deputy CEO, who will organise events and support the community internally.
TCIO said the Deputy CEO role has been created in direct response to community feedback received at the publication of the TCIO Impact Report, asking for more community events and more opportunity to feedback to policy-makers.
Southworth has previously worked with a number of tech start-ups in London, Cambridge, and Denver, USA, on projects ranging from technical advice to front-end development. He also helps to run events such as Digital Sizzle, Don’t Pitch Me Bro, and Silicon Drinkabout which aim to bring together technology entrepreneurs in London.
“East London is a very exciting place right now: we’re seeing an influx of talented developers, designers and business people of all ages and nationalities coming together in one place. This is creating more and more exciting products, businesses, investments and opportunities across the board,” said Southworth.
“It’s fantastic that we have such strong support from the government for what we’re achieving here and I hope that we can, as a community, make the best use of that for the continued success of both the cluster and the UK.”
Southworth's role will be funded out of the existing TCIO budget. The organisation is still looking for a new CEO to replace Eric van der Kleij.
“I’m delighted that Ben is joining TCIO,” said van der Kleij. “His experience working with tech and digital start-ups coupled with his knowledge and understanding of the Tech City community means he can play a valuable role in shaping and delivering our activity to support the growth of the cluster.”
Tech City is the name given by the government to the cluster of high-tech companies in East London. A recent think tank report estimated that there are at least 3,200 digital firms in the cluster, including the likes of Cisco, Vodafone, Google and Intel, as well as a wide range of start-ups.
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.
Number 10 announced today that is also setting up a Tech City Advisory Group to provide strategic direction for the government’s work supporting the technology cluster. The group includes a range of industry figures, such as Autonomy's Mike Lynch, MindCandy's Michael Acton Smith and Songkick's Ian Hogarth.