(Bloomberg) -- UK’s Ofcom hired former Google executive Gill Whitehead to head up a team regulating search engines and social media firms, the latest in a string of Silicon Valley appointments as the watchdog prepares to impose sweeping new online safety laws.
Whitehead, formerly Google’s senior director of client solutions and analytics, will work alongside Ofcom Chief Technology Officer Sachin Jogia and online safety lead Jessica Zucker. Jogia and Zucker were was previously executives at Amazon.com Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc. respectively.
Ofcom’s top hires over the past 18 months underscore a pivot in its role from an auditor of the airwaves and postal service to one increasingly concerned with the internet and Big Tech.
Last year its CEO, Melanie Dawes, said she expected to hire about 300 people on top of the 1,000 it employed already to be able to deal with the Online Safety Bill, which will place strict duties on companies that host user-generated content. That would leave Ofcom about a third of the size of the Financial Conduct Authority.
Whitehead will report directly to Dawes, who joined Ofcom after holding senior roles in the British civil service. Since May, Ofcom’s chairman has been 79-year-old former television executive Michael Grade, who told lawmakers this year he doesn’t use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or TikTok.
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