CWG nets Tech City chief
With pressure on the financial services, the vast swathes of east London aiming to embrace the digital age, Canary Wharf Group has made a strategic shift in emphasis.
With the appointment of Tech City chief executive Eric Van Der Kleij as a strategic adviser, the group is aiming to diversify it tenant base and activities and capture the wave of the the technology, media and telecoms growth sectors.
The appointment of the man who will leave Tech City Investment Organisation in September, coincides with the unveiling of iCity as the preferred bidder for the Olympic media centre while plans are moving ahead for a digital cluster in the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone.
Mr Van Der Kleij said: "London business districts need to respond to the rapidly changing needs of technology companies, from start-ups to mature and expanding businesses.
"London is doing very well at the technology start-up stage, but more can be done to accommodate larger, growing companies looking for the very best in office technology, sustainability and lifestyle.
"Technology companies also want to be located as close as possible to their sources of business, talent and investment, which potentially makes Canary Wharf the ideal place to expand, especially for those active in financial technology."
Mr Van Der Kleij will advise on linking Canary Wharf's established financial and professional services companies with London's burgeoning technology scene, providing growing companies with office space, amenities and opportunities to win new business and attract finance, talent and mentoring.
The estate is already a leading technology centre with more than one million square feet occupied by companies such as Thomson Reuters, Infosys and Ogilvy & Mather, directly employing 7,000 people. Many thousands more work within the financial services companies, making it one of the world's most technology intensive districts.
Sir George Iacobescu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canary Wharf Group, said: "[Eric] will help us to create new, customised business locations, fused with technology and an attractive lifestyle, that aim to match exactly what businesses will require 20 or 30 years into the future.
"Canary Wharf can help growing technology companies connect with the business opportunities, talent, investment and advice provided by the world's leading financial services providers already established here"
Van Der Kleij will leave TCIO in September 2012, on completion of his planned two year engagement with the organisation. In the interim, he will continue in his chief executive's role on a part-time basis, while working part-time as adviser to Canary Wharf Group.