University of Strathclyde appoints first Chief Digital & Information Officer

The University of Strathclyde has announced the appointment of a Chief Digital and Information Officer (CDIO) to develop, lead and deliver a visionary digital transformation strategy across the institution.

Beth Lawton, who has more than two decades of experience delivering technology enabled change in public and third sector organisations, will take up the post in July.

She will be responsible for developing new digitally-enabled ways of operating to enhance productivity and staff and student centred initiatives to improve the efficiency of digital technologies, including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Transform business

As Strathclyde’s first dedicated CDIO, she will also lead the Information Services and Continuous Improvement directorates.

Beth joins the University from her most recent position as Chief Digital and Information Officer for the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.  She has a particular interest in using technology to transform business services and the customer experience, and her previous roles include the Director of Technology and Transformation at the Big Lottery Fund.

Woman facing camera

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “We are delighted to welcome Beth on board as a key member of our Executive Team to create and lead the delivery of the digital transformation strategy aligned to our strategic plan, Vision 2025.

“Beth has an impressive track record of delivering digital transformation and combining technology, data, cultural and process change to deliver an enhanced digital experience for organisations and their people.

"As a leading international technological university that is socially progressive, we place people at the heart of everything we do. The creation of this new role reflects our commitment to further developing our dynamic, technology-enabled and environmentally-sustainable campus which supports students and staff and their health and wellbeing.”

In 2007, Beth was appointed Member of the Royal Victorian Order in recognition of her transformative work at the Royal Household, where she also managed the technical aspect of state visits, Royal funerals and state events, including the Golden Jubilee in 2002.

In her most recent role, she ensured the Mental Health Trust pivoted to digital-first service delivery in just ten days in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and also led the organisation to Global Digital Exemplar status.

She is also a certified Change Management Practitioner, and a mentor for minority women and women in technology.

Key time

Beth said: I am excited to be joining the University of Strathclyde at such a key time and in a position that offers the opportunity to deliver significant change – both technologically and culturally – within a wide digital remit. As CDIO I am looking forward to creating a truly digital service; combining technology, data, cultural and process change to deliver a better experience for staff and students.”

The University has embarked on an ambitious campus transformation, with investment set to reach £1 billion by 2025. Major developments include Glasgow City Innovation District – the first in Scotland; the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland near Glasgow Airport, which is operated by the University; and a flagship Learning and Teaching building in the heart of campus, all of which will include state-of the-art technology to support students, staff and partners.