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  • Chris Bratton - Tech Journalist

Gill Whitehead as the new CEO of UK Digital Regulator Forum

Former Google director Gill Whitehead will be now serving as the CEO of the UK digital regulator forum. Her authority will be leading the ICO, the CMA, along with Ofcom. Digital Regulator’s Corporation Forum (DRCF) has long been looking for an ideal candidate to handle the ongoing situation for the DRCF members.

Being the CEO of DRCF has a lot of obligations towards the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Information Commissioners Office (ICO), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Ofcom. The UK is exceptionally known for its leadership mindset towards technology and adapting to regulatory changes. Many leading countries follow them as an ideal example, which puts DRCF in a tight spot but a more respected position.

Gill will be starting her career as the CEO on 15th November 2021. Before joining DRCF, Gill influenced the Market Insight and Client Solutions & Analytics at Google for four years, and her influence remains. She and three others are appointed for the DRCF CEO position to unify the approach towards online services. Ofcom CEO Melanie Dawes also chairs the DRCF, said, “Her expertise and insight will be invaluable as we shape the regulatory landscape for the UK’s digital economy. This will play a pivotal role in bringing us together to tackle our shared challenges and secure a safer life online for everyone.”

Gill was an economist in the Bank of England, later moved to Deloitte, followed by BBC and Channel 4. No surprise gathered much experience working with top platforms of choice. While Google’s market insights lead, her decisions were overseen by Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Later taught Google UK data science, analytics, measurement and UX teams. Gill’s expertise will surely benefit the DRCF, and while paperwork’s are moving, changes are seen at the office. After working with top private companies, being a government servant seems natural for high-level employees as their experience structure helps make good decisions faster

Google is at the moment facing a €4.34 billion fine for dominant market grab with Android complying with the EU antitrust rules. The European Commission found it is illegal to restrict manufacturers and bind them with the same system. Google’s fight for dominant search engine position caused €2.42 billion in penalty. Coming out of Google, Gill may cut her old company some slack or make a fair fight for both sides.

As DRCF kicked into action by Google’s privacy sandbox, eliminating third-party cookies raised privacy and data policies questions. CMA also received oversight for sandboxes as many industries raised competition concerns. DRCF was pretty silent for the better half of a year, but its real impact is starting to shake the industry. The chief member of the CMA, Andrea Coscelli, said, “the recent allegations against Facebook are a good example of this.”

Coscelli also talked about competition, privacy, and the distribution of harmful content and how to work more challenging for understanding the root cause of the problem.

At Channel 4, Gill created and led data strategy, audience technologies, and insight division. The potential is endless, and it is for this reason DRCF managed the whole board to agree with the decision of hiring. Elizabeth Denham, UK’s Information Commissioner on Gills position as CEO, said it “is vital to ensure digital regulation is coordinated for the future.” Dr Michael Veale, Digital Rights & Regulations associate professor at UCL, tweeted about Gill’s “personal capacity for understanding the issue behind this role” and said she “can surely only be jubilation over at Google Public Policy.” FCA Chief Executive Nikhil Ratni agreed and said, “this appointment makes an important milestone for us.”


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