It’s now your opportunity to vote for the 2022 edition of Computer Weekly’s annual UKtech50, our definitive list of the movers and shakers in UK technology – the CIOs, industry executives, public servants and business leaders driving forward the UK’s digital economy.
Whoever tops the list will be the person who, in the opinion of our judges and readers, holds the most influence over the future of the UK tech sector in 2022 – and hence the future of IT professionals across the country.
Our expert judging panel has selected a shortlist of 50 leaders shown below – chosen from a record 250 nominations that were suggested by readers, the Computer Weekly team, and the judges themselves. We need your votes on who you believe deserves the top spot on this year’s list.
The judges’ selection of the top 50 was influenced by several important tech trends, not least the importance of the private sector in leading the UK’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. This list is indicative of the increasing influence of sustainability and ethics within the IT sector as the digital revolution continues its transformation in how we live and work. Judges were also keen to promote diversity within the tech community, including gender, ethnicity and size.
The work undertaken by IT leaders in every sector during the pandemic showed resilience and innovation, and the top 50 list reflects the hard work organisations and individuals are putting in to rebuild under today’s challenging economic conditions.
In 2021, the 11th annual UKtech50 saw Sarah Wilkinson, CEO of NHS Digital, top the list, in recognition of the incredible efforts of the health service IT community to support colleagues, patients and the public with digital innovation during the coronavirus crisis. Wilkinson is now CIO at Thomson Reuters ,, based in Switzerland.
Whoever tops the list in 2022 will be the person who, in the opinion of our judges and readers, holds the most influence over the future of the UK’s digital economy. The winner will be announced on the internet at the end June.
Read more about UKtech50 2022 here and submit your vote now – simply click on the button next to the person you wish to vote for and click the “submit” button below the list. Voting closes at 5pm on Friday 17 June 2022.
Our thanks to the team at Nash Squared for their support with this year’s UKtech50.
The complete shortlist is also displayed in alphabetical order with brief biographies at the end.
Judging the UKtech50
The judges were chosen to represent different perspectives within IT. Each individual served as both an impartial and expert judge as well as an advocate in their particular area. The judges were
- Adam Thilthorpe, director for professionalism at BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.
- Joanna Poplawska, CEO at CITF, the collaboration, innovation and technology forum.
- Sue Daley, director of technology and innovation at TechUK.
- Rhona Carmichael, regional managing director at Harvey Nash UK North & Ireland.
- Andy Heyes, UK South managing director at Harvey Nash.
Our judging panel chose the top 50 candidates based on the following criteria:
- Influence: What authority or ability does the person have – either through their personal position or the role they hold – to personally influence the development of UK technology, or to influence others in positions of authority?
- Achievements: What has the person achieved in the past 12 months to help the development of UK technology?
- Profile: Is the person recognised as a role model for aspiring leaders? What extent are their peers recognizing them as an authority and influencer in UK tech?
- Leadership: Does the person demonstrate the skills and experience necessary to be seen as a leader in the development of the tech community in the UK? Does the person have the leadership skills and experience that will help develop technology in the UK
- Potential: How likely is it that the person will have a significant impact on UK tech in the next 12 months? Is their authority and responsibility growing?
The UKtech50 2022 shortlist:
Names appear in alphabetical order.
Anne-Marie Imafidon, CEO, Stemettes
Imafidon, CEO, founder, and head stemette of social enterprise Stemettes, a program that encourages young women to pursue STEM careers. She has become a high-profile advocate and campaigner, taking part in racing driver Lewis Hamilton’s commission to encourage a more diverse workforce in engineering, and appeared on the Channel 4 show Countdown while regular mathematician Rachel Riley was on maternity leave. Imafidon was voted the most influential women in UK technology in 2020.
Bella Abrams, director of IT, University of Sheffield
Abrams joined the University of Sheffield as director of IT in 2019. She has 19 years’ experience working in IT in the public and private education sector. She was most recently the CIO of Sheffield College, where she held various roles in developing and delivering online education.
Bev White, CEO, Nash Squared
As CEO of Nash Squared – formerly known as Harvey Nash Group – White heads up the global firm which provides IT recruitment, technology solutions and leaderships services out of 36 offices across the world. White has a rich history in the tech industry, having held positions as director and CIO, as well as holding a degree in computer science.
Brent Hoberman, entrepreneur; chair of Founders Factory & Founders Forum
Serial entrepreneur Hoberman is the chairman and co-founder of Founders Factory, a London-based accelerator and incubator. He has served as a non-executive director of Made.com, and as a co-founder of Made.com. In 1998, he co-founded Lastminute.com together with Martha Lane Fox.
Caroline Gorski, CEO, R2 Factory at Rolls-Royce
Gorski is a technology leader of more than 25 years’ experience, with a background in strategy consulting, market development and commercial decision-making at FTSE 100 board-level. She is co-founder of the Emergent Alliance, a not-for-profit global data collaboration initiative focusing on economic recovery analytics in response to Covid-19. She is also CEO of R2 Data Labs, the data innovation and artificial intelligence catalyst inside Rolls-Royce.
Charles Forte, CIO, Ministry of Defence
Forte became CIO at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in January 2018. Forte was previously the interim CIO of Thames Water for six months before assuming the MoD role. Previously, he was CEO of group IT services at Prudential from March 2015 to the end of 2016, and before that, deputy group CIO and CIO of global operations at BP – as well as spending time as an independent consultant.
Chi Onwurah, shadow minister for science, research and digital, Labour
Chi Onwurah is the Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central and is the shadow digital minister. She is a chartered engineer and was previously head of telecoms technology at UK regulator Ofcom.
Cindy Rose, president, Microsoft Western Europe
Rose was recently appointed the president of Western Europe for Microsoft, having served as the CEO of Microsoft UK since 2016, where she was responsible for the firm’s product, service and support offering across the region. Last year, she was added to the Computer Weekly women in technology hall of fame.
Clare Barclay, CEO, Microsoft UK
Barclay is CEO of Microsoft UK, where she is responsible for all of Microsoft’s product and service offerings in the UK and for supporting the success of its commercial customers and partners. Prior to October 2020, she was the software giant’s UK chief operating officer for four years.
Dara Nasr, managing director, Twitter UK
Nasr originally joined Twitter back in November 2012, heading up its sales team, before becoming managing director in 2016. Before joining Twitter UK, Nasr managed the sales team at Google for YouTube and Display.
Debbie Forster, CEO, Tech Talent Charter
Forster, CEO of the government-backed initiative Tech Talent Charter is aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion within the tech sector. She is also the director of consultancy Novel Design and the director for international development at NCSSS. She was voted the most influential woman in UK technology in 2019. Forster, who started out as an English teacher, has been active in the tech sector for over a decade. She is currently co-CEO of Apps for Good, a student-focused initiative, and also heads up education for e–skills UK.
Demis Hassabis, founder & CEO, DeepMind
Hassabis founded AI company DeepMind in 2010. The company, which was bought by Google in 2014 for about PS400m, is involved in several AI projects across sectors, including the NHS. Hassabis received a PhD from UCL in neuroscience before he founded DeepMind. He is a previous UKtech50 winner, in 2019.
Ed Alford, CTO, New Look
Alford was appointed to the newly created role of CTO at New Look in April 2021. He is responsible for fashion retailer’s omnichannel strategy, as well as its technology investments, engineering and IT functions. He was previously the CIO for Digital Transformation at BP.
Elena Sinel, founder, Acorn Aspirations and Teens in AI; member, APPG on AI
Sinel founded Teens in AI and Acorn Aspirations to help young people understand how to use artificial intelligence, virtual, augmented and mixed reality to solve real-world problems. She has won awards for her work, including CogX 2017 Award in Using AI for Social Good Projects, and is currently an education taskforce committee member for the All Parliamentary Group in Artificial Intelligence.
Geoff Huggins, digital director, Scottish government
Huggins was appointed to lead the digital team in the Scottish government in July 2021, succeeding Colin Cook. A number of his senior roles in the digital government of Scotland include director, digital third-sector transformation, director at NDS Scotland, director of Health and Social Care Integration, and director of NHS Education for Scotland.
George Freeman, minister for science, research and innovation, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Freeman was appointed as a minister in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 17 September 2021. His responsibilities include science and research and the associated agencies UK Research and Innovation and the Advanced Research and Invention Agency, as well as the Office for Artificial intelligence, jointly with DCMS. He was previously a minister at the Department for Transport.
Gill Whitehead, CEO, Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum
The Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum – which consists of the Competition and Markets Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office and Ofcom – was formed in July 2020 to strengthen the working relationships between the watchdogs and establish a coordinated regulatory approach to the UK’s digital services and economy. Appointed CEO in November 2021, Whitehead will play a key rule in emerging UK regulation of the online world.
Glyn Jones, chief digital officer, Welsh government
Jones was appointed chief digital officer and director for analysis at the Welsh government in July 20202. He is the head of the DDAT professional for Wales and is responsible for corporate IT services. He also acts as the policy lead for digital strategy for Wales and works with CDOs for health and the Centre for Digital Public Services.
Heena Mistry, chief digital officer, United Utilities
Mistry joined United Utilities in January 2021 as chief digital officer, with the aim of delivering the company’s ambition to become a “digital utility company”. She has worked in various industries, such as defence and aerospace, steel and logistics, she has helped deliver IT transformation at companies such as Babcock, Rolls-Royce and Harsco.
Ian Levy, technical director, National Cyber Security Centre
Levy has been the technical director for the National Cyber Security Centre since its formation in 2016. Previously, he served as the technical director for cyber security and resilience at GCHQ. He is responsible for developing cyber defenses at NCSC.
Jacqueline De Rojas, president, TechUK
The 2015 winner of Computer Weekly’s Most Influential Woman UK Tech, De Rojas insists that you “can have it all” – she is not only president of two companies and non-executive director of several more, but is also married and has three children and two dogs. De Rojas is the president of TechUK and Digital Leaders. She also serves as co-chair of TechUK’s governance board and non-executive Director of Rightmove and IFS, Costain Group, and FDM Group.
James Matthews, CEO, Ocado Technology
Matthews spent several years with the online supermarket before becoming CEO of Ocado Technology in April 2018. Matthews, who has been with Ocado Technology since its inception, has helped to make Ocado Technology a top-ranking UK technology company. He also drove the Ocado Smart platform and developed the company’s technology. He heads up a team of more than 2,000 technologists.
Jeremy Fleming, director, GCHQ
Fleming is the director of GCHQ, the UK’s Intelligence, Cyber and Security Agency. He was appointed in 2017 and is the 16th person to hold the role. He was responsible for the creation of the National Cyber Security Centre, with the mission to make the UK the safest country to live in and do business online.
Joanna Davinson, executive director, Central Digital and Data Office, UK government
Davinson was appointed executive director of the government’s new Central Digital and Data Office in 2021, leading the strategic centre for digital, data and technology (DDaT) across government. In her role, she is in charge of the government’s 18,000 digital, data and technology professionals and leads the DDaT function for government. Davinson was previously the chief digital, data, and technology officer for the Home Office. Her current job will end in the latter part of this year.
John Edwards, UK information commissioner
New Zealand’s former privacy commissioner John Edwards was selected by the UK government to succeed Elizabeth Denham as information commissioner when she stepped down from the post in October 2021. Edwards, who served two five-year terms in New Zealand, was appointed to that post in 2014, and oversaw the introduction of the country’s 2020 Privacy Act. He was also chairman of the Global Privacy Assembly – previously the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners – from 2014 to 2017.
Julian David, CEO, TechUK
Julian David is the CEO of technology trade association TechUK. He was appointed as the director general of Intellect in March 2012 and led its transformation to TechUK in November 2013. Julian has spent over 30 years in the technology industry, mostly working for IBM in various roles including vice-president for small and medium business in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Africa and then for five years as vice-president for public sector in the UK, Ireland and South Africa.
Justin Lewis, VP incubation, BP
Lewis leads and operates a business incubation unit at BP to test and grow business models, such as the energy giant’s efforts in charging points for electric vehicles. He was previously at Tesla and Google, where he claims to have been the most prolific inventor at the search firm with over 400 software utility patents filed.
Lindy Cameron, CEO, National Cyber Security Centre
Cameron became CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre in October 2020 following more than two decades of national security policy and crisis management experience. Prior to that, she was a director-general at the Northern Ireland Office (DFID) and the Department for International Development.
Mark Logan, adviser to Scottish government, Scottish technology ecosystem
Former Skyscanner chief operating officer Mark Logan completed a review for the Scottish government in August 2020 that examined opportunities for the country’s tech ecosystem. To help implement his recommendations, he was appointed to the role of adviser. This programme, which is supported by PS7m funding, aims to make Scotland a top-ranked technology hub.
Nicola Blackwood, chair, Genomics England
Blackwood is chair of the board of Genomics England, deputy chair of Public Policy Projects and board trustee for the Alan Turing Institute. Before this, she was the first female MP in Oxford and then as minister for innovation at the Department of Health and Social Care.
Philip Jansen, CEO, BT
Philip Jansen became CEO of BT in 2019, replacing long-term chief executive Gavin Patterson. Jansen was in charge of Worldpay from 2013, overseeing both its 2015 flotation and a merger with e-commerce firm Vantiv. He was previously employed by Brakes and Sodexo Group in the catering industry.
Poppy Gustafsson, CEO, Darktrace
Gustafsson studied math at Sheffield University. She then went on to become an assistant manager with Deloitte and then a fund accountant for Amadeus Capital Partners. She joined Darktrace as chief financial officer (CFO) in 2013, then spent some time as the chief operating officer (COO) before becoming CEO in 2016. She was selected as the Computer Weekly most influential woman in UK technology in 2021, and led the flotation of Darktrace in April 2021.
Rene Haas, CEO, ARM Holdings
Arm announced in February this year that it had appointed 35-year semiconductor industry leader Rene Haas as chief executive, succeeding Simon Segars, who stepped down after 30 years with the company. Haas was previously president of the Arm IP Products Group since 2017, having joined the firm in 2013.
Russ Shaw, founder, Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates
Russ Shaw founded Tech London Advocates in April 2013 as a private sector group promoting London’s technology sector and connecting startups with enterprises. He has founded similar organisations under the Global Tech Advocates banner in 16 locations worldwide. Since then, he has been named a London tech ambassador and a member the Tech City Advisory Group. He is also a member the UK Digital Skills Taskforce and the London Technology Week steering committee.
Sian Jones, CEO, Correla
Correla was founded by 252495154Jones in Midlands. The company aims to make the energy sector more efficient and sustainable. CEO and co-founder Jones set up the company in 2021 with the aim of helping the UK to decarbonise and reach net zero.
Storm Fagan, chief product officer, BBC
Fagan joined the BBC in September 2021 as chief product officer, leading the development and delivery of the broadcaster’s audience-facing digital products, including the BBC iPlayer, and the BBC Sounds, BBC News and BBC Sport apps. She was previously chief product officer at online food delivery company Just Eat, where she worked from 2015.
Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder, CognitionX; chair of government’s AI Council
Tabitha Goldstaub is the co-founder of CognitionX, a platform and network that helps to build and accelerate the adoption of AI and data-driven systems. She is a serial entrepreneur and co-founded many businesses. She also worked with organizations like Founders4Schools, Teens in AI and the Chair of the government’s AI Council.
Tanuja Randery, EMEA managing director, Amazon Web Services
A former partner at McKinsey, Randery took over Amazon Web Services (AWS) in Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) in August 2021. She was previously the UK president for Schneider Electric, as well as president of strategy, marketing, and transformation at BT Global Services and managing director at Colt. She also worked in private equity at Apax Partners. She is currently a non executive director at London First. This group runs business campaigns in the capital.
Tim Ferris, national director of transformation, NHS England
Ferris took up the post as the national director of transformation on 10 May 2021. For almost three years, he was a non-executive Director of NHS Improvement. He now heads the Transformation Directorate. This brings together the organisation’s operational improvement group and NHSX, the digital arm. It is responsible for maintaining the pace of innovation during the pandemic.
Tom Read, CEO, Government Digital Service
Read was appointed CEO of the Government Digital Service (GDS) in 2021, where he is at the helm of government technology. Read served as the Ministry of Justice (MoJ CDIO) for many years. There, he was involved in large-scale technology transformation projects.
Toni Scullion, computing science teacher & founder of dressCode
Scullion’s efforts to promote computing science in schools and inspire young people has been recognized with a variety of awards. She is one of Scotland’s highest profile advocates for diversity in tech, and founder of dressCode, a free lunchtime club for girls aged 11-13.
Trish Quinn, digital programme director, Directorate for Social Care & National Care Service Development, Scottish government
Quinn was part of the team that set up the National Care Service for Scotland. She was appointed to her current role in November 2021, after nearly four years as head of product and commercial in the digital directorate, where she held various leadership roles since 2015.
Zahra Bahrololoumi, CEO, Salesforce UK
Bahrololoumi was appointed Salesforce UK and Ireland CEO in November 2020, and joined in March 2021 to lead the company’s operations in both markets. She joined Salesforce from Accenture where she was the technology leader for Ireland and UK.
Editor’s note: The final UKtech50 list will be chosen by combining the decision of the judging panel with the votes of our readers. The combined vote of readers will have the same weight and influence as the decision of one judge. It will also provide input from UK IT professionals to the order of the list. The editor’s decision on the UKtech50 list will be final.