Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Tessa Guthrie
03 April 2024
The Data Lab announces new leader after chief executive steps down

Heather Thomson to Interim chief executive | The Data Lab

The Data Lab announces new leader after chief executive steps down

The Data Lab has appointed Heather Thomson as its interim chief executive after Brian Hills stepped down from the role.

The new appointment “marks a significant milestone” in the future of the innovation centre as it celebrates its tenth anniversary, Les Bayne, chair of The Data Lab, said.

Thomson will take on the position until next year, when a permanent chief executive will be chosen.

As interim chief executive, Thomson will lead the team’s transition to the new decade-long innovation infrastructure funding programme, which was recently approved by the Scottish Funding Council.

Bayne said: “Heather starts this role as the next funding chapter kicks off and the opportunity for data and AI continues to grow, presenting a huge opportunity for Scotland which The Data Lab will be at the heart of.”

Since joining the centre in 2018, Thomson has led the data and artificial intelligence skills programme.  

In 2021, she became part of the senior leadership team as the director of skills and education.

Hills decided to leave centre after being offered an opportunity to work in the private sector.

 Bayne said: “Brian has been integral in the evolution and growth of The Data Lab over the last nine years. Since joining the centre in 2015 and taking up the CEO role in 2021, he has played a major part in the creation of a wealth of successful programmes. As a result, these programmes have generated £200m in additional revenue for Scotland’s data and AI sector, as well as forming and safeguarding more and 1,350 jobs in the sector. We would like to extend our thanks to Brian for his leadership and contribution to The Data Lab and wish him all the best for the future.”

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top