Information watchdog hires diplomat as deputy data chief

Former High Commissioner to Malta Rob Luke to take on policy role with the Information Commissioner's Office

By Jim Dunton

05 Dec 2016

The Information Commissioner’s Office has named former British High Commissioner to Malta Rob Luke as its new deputy commissioner for policy.

Luke is expected to help set the information rights watchdog’s strategic plans and objectives, lead on particular policy areas and be responsible for managing junior staff members. He will work alongside existing deputy director Simon Entwistle under information commissioner Elizabeth Denham.

The ICO began recruiting for a permanent deputy in October and advertised a salary of up to £85,000 for the role.

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Denham said Luke would play a key contributory role in shaping the way the ICO helped organisations comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation.

“We’ll be drawing heavily on his leadership skills, and he’ll be central to our work to evolve the ICO to make sure we stay relevant, both to the public and the organisations we regulate,” she said.

“The digital world is a smaller world. The ICO will be taking an internationalist approach, continuing and growing our work with regulators around the world. Rob’s experience will be invaluable, and I look forward to working with him.”

Other attributes the ICO sought for the deputy director in its recruitment campaign were a “demonstrable empathy” towards data protection and freedom of information, expertise in data protection and an ability to be objective about policies.

It also called for candidates who appreciated the impact of emerging technologies and have a “keen awareness” of the digital economy and knowledge of both corporate and government practices.

Luke joined the Diplomatic Service in 2000 and served initially at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office before working as political and press officer at the British Embassy in Brasilia.

He became head of the War Crimes Section at the International Organisations Department in 2005, then served as counsellor for justice and home affairs at the British Embassy in Paris from 2008-2012, when he was appointed British High Commissioner to Malta.

Luke is due to start in post on January 30.

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