Pivotal member of The Data Lab’s top team promoted to deputy CEO

A founding member of the leadership team at The Data Lab, Scotland’s innovation centre for data and artificial intelligence, who has been key in driving its growth has been given a new senior role.

Hills aims to build on the organisation's 'tremendous' achievements. Picture: Jane Barlow.
Hills aims to build on the organisation's 'tremendous' achievements. Picture: Jane Barlow.

Brian Hills has been promoted from head of data to deputy chief executive and head of service design. He will deputise for chief executive Gillian Docherty, and lead the scaling of The Data Lab’s impact across Scotland through the growth of existing services and developing an “array” of new business opportunities.

Having previously held roles with the likes of Skyscanner, he joined The Data Lab in 2015, and led the design, launch and growth of the centre’s key services from its skills programme to DataFest, its annual flagship two-week data festival, and technical leadership.

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Last year, Hills was part of the leadership team that secured a further five years of funding for the centre. He also led the bid to fund the Torch service (supported by Scottish Enterprise and the University of Edinburgh) and has led the development of a culture and values initiative across the organisation.

He said: “The Data Lab has so much expertise and potential to offer to Scotland’s data science and AI sector, and as such I am delighted to be taking on the role of deputy CEO, continuing to work alongside a vibrant and ambitious team who share my enthusiasm for a data-powered future.

“The ethical use of data in everyday life has never been so prevalent as it is today, with data and technology transforming how we learn, work, communicate and go about our daily lives. The most prominent example of this relates to the global coronavirus pandemic, with both Scottish and UK politicians taking to our TV screens daily and masses of data generating the foundations for their press conference updates and our exit out of lockdown.

Building on achievements

“As a founding member of The Data Lab’s leadership team, and as we begin to look ahead to a post-Covid-19 future, my primary mission will be to continue building on our tremendous achievements to date – bringing together business, academia and the public sector to develop and execute new data innovation strategies which boost productivity, create new market opportunities, benefit society and ultimately help Scotland maximise value from data.”

Docherty said: “Brian is an integral part of The Data Lab team, helping us launch a wide variety of successful programmes and events over the years, as well as growing our skills portfolio and leading the development of our culture and values initiative.

“[Hills] is passionate and influential in The Data Lab, and indeed, Scotland’s growing data landscape – and his leadership will be pivotal in driving our ongoing success as we continue to ensure the data science community in Scotland are well-served.”

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