Erika Lewis will succeed Nicola Yates OBE as CEO of Connected Places Catapult from 1st March. 

Connected Places Catapult, an innovation accelerator for cities, transport and place leadership, was established by Innovate UK. Yates led Future Cities Catapult before becoming CEO of Connected Places Catapult at inception in 2019.

Lewis will join the Catapult from her role at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) where she is currently director, cyber security and digital identity.

In July 2023 she was appointed the CEO of the AI Safety Summit, which brought together international governments, leading AI companies, civil society groups and experts in research to consider the risks of AI, especially at the frontier of development, and discuss how they can be mitigated through internationally coordinated action. 

Earlier in her career Lewis delivered regeneration programmes as part of the set-up team for the London Development Agency then became director of strategy before joining the Competition and Markets Authority as a project director in 2012.

She then joined the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in 2018 to deliver the National Data Strategy before moving to the role of director, cyber security and digital identity, where she leads on the economic support for the cyber sector, the development of security approaches for consumer IoT, the government work on Secure Connected Places and Digital Identity in the economy.  

In 2020 she also led for DCMS on the Covid-19 response package for the Voluntary Sector and in 2023 led on the initial transition programme for the newly formed Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

“I am thrilled to have been asked to lead the Connected Places Catapult team into its next phase of growth,” said Lewis. “Connecting businesses and public sector leaders to cutting-edge research to spark innovation and grow new markets is a priority that I am passionate about and I bring with me experience spanning industry, technology, people and regulation.  

“I want to nurture the unique capabilities of the Catapult to deliver jobs and economic growth for our business communities and bring innovation into the forefront for our local economies.”

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Prof Greg Clark CBE, chair of the board at Connected Places Catapult, said: “I am delighted to welcome Erika Lewis to Connected Places Catapult as our new CEO.

“Erika has an impressive track record of people and organisation leadership. She also brings expert knowledge on how technology is reengineering places and transport systems for the future, with a focus on enterprise innovation, human experience, and environmental sustainability. 

“We are looking forward to welcoming Erika to the Catapult at a time when these imperatives are at the forefront of our new cycle of discovery.”

Indro Mukerjee, CEO, Innovate UK, added: “Innovate UK is committed to supporting growth and increased productivity across the UK and our Catapults are an important part of that commitment. Connected Places Catapult has strong capabilities which are significant to our work in delivering a cleaner, greener economy as well as strengthening our commitment to levelling up. 

“I look forward to working with Erika to deliver UK-wide growth and productivity. Erika joins at an important time, as we work together to drive even greater growth and value for money through our Catapults.”

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