DCMS adds Deliveroo chief and cooking-sauce entrepreneur to boardroom menu

Department orders in two food-focused techies
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By Sam Trendall

28 Apr 2021

The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has served up two new non-executive boardroom members that each come with experience of the technology and food sectors.

The organisation has appointed the chair of online takeaway platform, Claudia Arney, as its new lead non-executive board member. Priya Lakhani – who now runs AI learning specialist Century Tech, and whose first business venture was the Masala Masala cooking-sauce company – is also being added to department's boardroom recipe.

In addition to her role at Deliveroo and new DCMS responsibilities, Arney also holds non-executive posts at property investor Derwent London and Kingfisher, the parent company of retailers B&Q and Screwfix. Until a few months ago, she also held similar positions at both the Premier League and Ocado.

As well as a host of other previous non-exec posts – including at Transport for London and Huawei – Arney has previously worked at firms including McKinsey & Company, Pearson, the Financial Times, Goldman Sachs, and EMAP. She also spent two years as a civil servant, working as director of HM Treasury’s enterprise and growth unit from 2006 to 2008.

Lakhani, who serves on the government’s AI Council, founded Century in 2013; the company offers artificial intelligence-powered learning platforms to support teaching of maths, English and science in primary, secondary and further education settings.

She had previously left her former career as a barrister to launch Masala Masala 2008 – a venture for which, the following year, she was presented with an Entrepreneur of the Year award by then chancellor Alistair Darling. The firm’s charitable arm also supported the construction of schools and the provision of “millions of meals and thousands of vaccinations to the underprivileged in India and Africa”, according to DCMS.

Sam Trendall is the editor of CSW's sister title PublicTechnology, where a version of this story first appeared.

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