The West Midlands Combined Authority has appointed Martin Ward as the region’s first tech commissioner to champion the digital sector in Birmingham and the surrounding towns and cities.
The region has been searching for a tech commissioner for several months, having announced its plans to appoint someone to the role in October last year.
Ward will act as an advocate for the West Midlands to encourage tech firms to establish a presence in the area.
He will also lead an international network of West Midlands tech ambassadors who will work to maintain and support the region’s digital growth.
“I’m honoured to have been chosen to lead the West Midlands’ digital and tech sector going forward and want to do my utmost to support the region in realising its full potential,” Ward said.
“Digital adoption is accelerating and building a digitally connected economy and society has never been more important. I’m keen to get started by speaking with business leaders and entrepreneurs throughout the region to get an understanding of what they think and how we can further compete on the global stage.”
Ward has a background in B2B technology, spending time at both startups and larger enterprises during his 35-year career.
Andy Street, the mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, added: “The tech sector is a real strength for us here in the West Midlands. We have the fastest-growing tech sector outside of London but we’ve been thinking for some time how we can build on these natural strengths and grow the sector even further.
“That’s why we’ve decided to appoint a tech commissioner to act as a champion and advocate amongst businesses, investors and wider stakeholders to shout louder about all that we have to offer.”
The role was created in partnership with Birmingham Tech, a not-for-profit that works to boost the profile of the city’s tech industry.