First French Chief Data Officer announced at ODI Paris

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ODI Paris today (19th September) hosted French Secretary of State Thierry Mandon as he announced that Henri Verdier will be the first French Chief Data Officer. Verdier is the Director of Etalab, the French government’s open data task force in charge of opening public data and the development of the open data platform: data.gouv.fr.

Henri Verdier explains that his role as Chief Data Officer is to ensure that policy becomes increasingly data-driven. According to Verdier, this new position allows him to be more “involved in the policies of the production of key data in different ministries”. He will “be able to contribute in the creation of true data governance, and to rationalize the circulation of data to those who need it.”

More importantly, as CDO, it also allows him to “engage in the analysis of data in order to improve public action, through publication of reports, and then creating prototypes to show what can be done with the data to help in the decision making process.”

The Secretary of State made today’s announcement at the Sousmarin, a space co-founded by ODI’s Paris Node: Five by Five, and ODI supporter: Snips. The visit was an opportunity for the Paris team to present their work to Thierry Mandon including their recent project with the Burkina Faso government, supporting them to launch their open data platform, the first in French-speaking Africa.

In a recent blog for the ODI Henri Verdier said:

Opening data is nothing without dialogue and consultation around the data: the aim is to create the conditions for an active, informed, and responsible citizenry.

Gavin Starks, CEO at the ODI said:

This is a strong move by the French government - recognising that open data is a critical part of infrastructure development. We congratulate Henri Verdier in his new role and look forward to supporting him to drive transparency, efficiency, and open innovation in France.

Kat Borlongan, Co-founder of Five by Five, and head of ODI Paris said:

We weren't summoned to Matignon for the announcement of the Chief Data Officer. This time, Matignon came to us. It's a forceful sign from the French government to its startup ecosystem. We now have every confidence that Henri Verdier's new mandate will build a bridge between the government and the thriving startup community looking forward to build a better France with it.*


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François Vauglin, Mayor of the 11th arrondissement of Paris Thierry Mandon, Secretary of State Gaël Musquet, Technologist-in-residence at ODI Paris and Chairman of Open Street Map Chloé Bonnet, Co-founder, Five by Five Maël Primet, Co-founder and CTO, Snips Henri Verdier, Chief Data Officer Kat Borlongan, C-founder, Five by Five Laure Lucchiesi, Deputy Director, Etalab