Martha Lane Fox, photo from Government Digital Service
The Open University has appointed Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho as its new Chancellor, succeeding Lord Puttnam who is stepping down after more than seven years in the role.
Martha Lane Fox has built her career around the digital world, making her mark as one of the founders of LastMinute.com. For more than four years she served as the government’s UK Digital Champion, leading a drive to get more people and services engaged with the online world. In 2012 she launched a charity – Go ON UK – which aims to plug the digital skills gap among British adults. Last year she joined the House of Lords and recently led a debate on the 25th anniversary of the world wide web.
Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, Martin Bean, said:
“Just like the OU, Martha has always been a tireless advocate for all things digital, constantly working to unleash the incredible power of technology to transform and improve the way we live, work and study. I would like to thank Lord Puttnam for his years of hard work and loyalty and look forward to welcoming Martha into this important role.”
The appointment was approved by a joint meeting of the University’s governing body, the Council and the Senate on Tuesday 11th March. The Chancellor is the public face of the university, acting as an ambassador with supporters around the world and attending degree ceremonies.
Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho said:
“I have seen how technology can transform the way we do things – from shopping to socialising to studying. The Open University has an astonishing track-record of using of new and emerging technologies to make higher education available to all people around the world. Its ethos of inclusion and access is something I respect hugely. I am extremely excited about this appointment and can’t wait to start meeting students.”
In addition to her work with the government, Baroness Lane-Fox has served on the boards of Channel 4 and Marks & Spencer and is patron of several charities. She is also helping to finance the Women’s Prize for Fiction. She will be formally installed as Chancellor of The Open University later this year and will take up her formal duties from September.