jon corner salford

Salford has appointed Jon Corner as the city's first Chief Digital Officer and tasked him with creating one of the world's most attractive cities for digital enterprises.

Corner will lead a digital transformation programme at Salford that emphasises collaboration across Greater Manchester with the aim of making the region a global leader in the digital sector.

His role will involve encouraging the public and private sector work together, maximising the value of digital investment for residents, businesses and the economy, and marketing the city's digital assets.

Corner joins Salford after a six-year stint as CEO of The Landing, an incubator for high-growth companies at MediaCityUK, which has developed more than 120 new companies the last three years and contributed over £89 million to the UK digital economy in 2017.

"This new post offers an amazing opportunity to put Salford's digital ambitions at the forefront," he said.

"It's an exciting challenge to fully harness the city's potential and to identify overlapping agendas and collaborations in the region. I have some ambitious targets and with some significant pan-region projects already in place around connectivity, digital inclusion, cybersecurity, skills, health innovation and smart cities.

"I'm confident we can make a big impact."

Salford is already well-positioned to become a digital leader. In 2017, the city surpassed London as the UK's leading city for percentage increase in start-up growth, after the digital sector contributed 87% to the city's job growth rate from 2010-15.

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The Mayor of Salford, Paul Dennett announced the appointment alongside the Salford Digital Collaborative, a partnership between Salford City Council, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, MediaCityUK, the University of Salford and The Landing, where Corner will continue to serve as CEO.

"This role is crucial for Salford's future as a leading smart city with digital technology and job creation at its heart," Dennett said.

"As Chief Digital Officer, Jon will become the glue for collaboration and impact and represent Salford's interests both locally and internationally as a leading digital city."

The Chief Digital Officer role has emerged in some areas of local government. Salford announced that it had recruited the city's first CDO months after Theo Blackwell was appointed as London's first Chief Digital Officer.