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DIGIT Movers & Shakers: December 2019

Ross Kelly


The end of 2019 saw a host of new appointments, partnerships and award wins across Scotland’s digital technology sector. Catch up on all the latest in DIGIT’s Movers & Shakers column.



The Data Lab

Scotland’s innovation centre for data science and artificial intelligence (AI), The Data Lab, strengthened its governance board with the appointment of five industry heavyweights last month.

The board, which monitors the centre’s progress and decides upon strategic areas for investment, will now include David Shaw, Tesco Bank; Zoe Webster, InnovateUK; John Brodie, founder of Aquila Insight; Dr Helen Brown, non-executive director and consultant Grant Smith.

The new members bring with them a wealth of experience in the public, private and third sectors and will play a significant role in shaping The Data Lab’s future strategy.

In addition to the new governance board members, The Data Lab has appointed new members to its two other advisory boards. The Innovation Advisory Board and the Skills Advisory Board – both of which recommend best practice and help to shape the organisation’s strategy.

Gillian Docherty, CEO of The Data Lab, commented: “We are pleased to welcome some of Scotland’s most experienced and well-respected experts in data science and AI to our Governance Board, as The Data Lab enters a new and exciting phase of leading Scotland’s overall AI strategy.

“Our goal is to fuel innovation through collaboration, something that is mirrored by the range and wealth of experience on our Governance Board, who are skilled in identifying key areas of growth to unlock Scotland’s potential as a thriving data science community.”


Edinburgh-based network and telecoms firm, Commsworld, has appointed an experienced business development director to further expand its public sector client base.

Craig Scott joins the firm having previously served as regional director Scotland with MLL Telecom. Scott boasts more than 20 years of experience working in public sector sales for Uodata Infrastructure and Boston Networks.

In his new role at Commsworld, Scott will be responsible for implementing and delivering a strategy to help the firm drive major growth in this area.

Commenting on the appointment, he said: “There’s a great deal of untapped potential within Commsworld – it is a firm which is really up there competing with the major players across the UK in terms of its capability in delivering public sector contracts.

“That’s why further development, relationship building and positioning in the marketplace will be key to greater success in this area of focus for Commsworld.

“Having known about Commsworld for a very long time, I don’t feel like a complete stranger – it’s an exciting new challenge that I can’t wait to get stuck into.”

Ricky Nicol, founder and CEO at Commsworld, added: “Bringing someone with Craig’s insight and expertise into the business is going to be hugely valuable for us all as we continue on this path of development in the public sector.

“In recent years, the involvement we’ve had in these contracts has really been the boost for the growth of Commsworld. It’s hugely important for us as a firm to deliver the level of service to these contracts that the business community has long received, which is where Craig’s knowledge will be invaluable.”


CENSIS, the Scottish Innovation Centre for sensors, imaging systems and IoT technologies, has appointed tech development and energy industry expert, Jacqueline Redmond, as its new chairperson.

Redmond brings to the role more than 25 years of international experience in senior positions with energy organisations including Royal Dutch Shell.

She also served as chief risk officer at the once UK Government-owned Green Investment Bank. Redmond commands a wealth of experience in risk management, business development and innovation.

Commenting on the appointment, CENSIS chief executive Paul Winstanley said: “Jacqueline has an incredible background, working with some of the largest names in the energy industry. She also has a track record of working with small companies, helping them to develop new technologies and work with different stakeholders.

“Her experience will undoubtedly prove highly useful to the many businesses we work with in Scotland and beyond, looking to develop new products, processes, and services for a variety of markets.”

In addition to her new role at CENSIS, which sees her replace Bob Downes, Redmond currently serves as a non-executive director for the SQN Asset Finance Income Fund and an advisory board member of the University of Cambridge’s Energy Policy Research Group.

Redmond said: “I have a passion for developing technology and using it to improve people’s lives. Throughout my career, I have worked with small businesses to find exciting new innovations, bringing together people from a variety of disciplines to mature the technology and help the companies scale.

“The Innovation Centre programme is a great initiative from the Scottish Government, which can establish a skill base for Scotland and place us at the forefront of technology – they are working on real-life challenges and giving academic research a business focus.”


Drinks-on-demand tech platform Drinkly announced the appointment of a new business development manager in December to help accelerate the growth of its UK retailer network.

Shabaz Ali, a highly experienced sales trainer with more than 14 years of experience in telecoms, will help the firm expand its UK outreach.

Ali began his career in sales with Everest Ltd in 2000 and has previously held positions at BSKYB and Convergys EMEA. Since joining the Drinkly team, he has already recruited close to 40 drinks retail outlets across the country onto the Drinkly marketplace.

Commenting on the appointment, Drinkly founder John Robertson said: “Shabaz is the epitome of the natural-born salesman; a highly motivated and results-driven individual he was not daunted by the challenge we set him to onboard 30 retailers by the end of the year. In fact, he’s smashed it.”


IT business consultancy, Consennsa, has made a senior appointment to the role of client director as the firm sets its sights on a period of rapid growth.

James Fitch will join the firm following a career spanning more than 28 years at Westcoast Ltd. During his time at the firm, Fitch held a number of senior roles and took on challenges in both the sales and operations parts of the business.

Most recently, he was responsible for a major realignment of the relationship between the two.

In his new position at Consenna, he will focus on maintaining and developing key client relationships and securing new client business.

Fitch will also play a key role in reviewing the effectiveness of the team’s programmes for clients deciding their future direction.

Trevor Evans, managing director at Consenna, said: “James’ mix of experience, which covers both sales and operations, equips him with a strong and unique appreciation of how relationship building and collaboration between teams is so often key to success in sales-focused scenarios.

“He has already demonstrated his enthusiasm for the journey that Consenna is on, and is clearly committed to working in a fast-paced and continually evolving environment. We are delighted to welcome him on board.”

Fitch added: “Having been keen for a fresh challenge, I was fortunate to be introduced to Trevor and Paul and it did not take long for me to decide that Consenna is quite simply the best in class at what it offers.

“The growth that Consenna, is experiencing is testimony to the team’s deep understanding of the channel and its needs, as well as their ability to understand, in-depth, the challenges of its clients.”



December saw Leidos relocate its Edinburgh team to a new, purposely-designed space at Lochrin Square in Edinburgh’s West End.

The firm said the new office space will enable the team to fully embrace “the Leidos Dynamic Working Culture” and will support some 60 staff working in the capital alongside its Glasgow-based UK headquarters.

This location, according to Leidos, means the team is closer to its customers and will help support on-site teams at the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament – allowing for better access to academia and specialist skills in areas such as digital transformation, AI and biometrics and data.

Leidos has also recently forged a corporate sponsorship with Dynamic Earth to link to its early careers initiatives in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in addition to its space science interests.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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