Maja Pawinska Sims 26 Nov 2019 // 6:40AM GMT
LONDON — Ed Vaizey, the former UK government culture minister, has joined FTI Consulting as a senior advisor.
Vaizey, who has decided not to stand as a candidate at the UK General Election on 12 December, has been an advisor to the firm since January this year. He told the Holmes Report that he wanted “to take the expertise I’ve gathered in telecoms and media and put it to some practical use.”
A Conservative MP for nearly 15 years, Vaizey was elected MP for Wantage in 2005. From 2010 to 2016 he was minister of state for culture, communications and creative industries under former Prime Minister David Cameron, which included responsibility for the digital industries. He was briefly expelled from the Conservative party in September for being one of 21 Tory rebels who backed legislation to stop the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
Vaizey, who describes technology regulation as his “passion” said: “It’s clearly a very interesting time in terms of how regulation of technology and media is going to develop. When I was a minister we were in the foothills of these conversations, and we’re now in an interesting midpoint where politicians are pushing regulation and technology has come to the table and acknowledged that regulation could be necessary.”
He said his new role at FTI was to “provide analysis of where this is going in terms of regulation, what is realistic for policy makers to expect, what’s achievable, who’s going to be first out of the block – the UK, EU or US – and above all providing a sort of translation of what is practical, effective and reasonable for government to ask for and what it is unreasonable for tech companies to try and resist.”
Vaizey added: “Policy makers should be respected for wanting to achieve outcomes like protecting kids online and combating the abuse people suffer on social media, and dealing with other technology like facial recognition. But they can’t make policy in a vacuum, and at the same time tech companies can’t pretend regulation is not coming their way: the best regulation is co-regulation.”
Charles Palmer, FTI’s global head of telecoms, media and technology within the strategic communications segment, told the Holmes Report: “Technology brings both opportunities and challenges, however we are at a critical point where companies, academics and regulators must come together to ensure that future regulation enables the benefits in a responsible and inclusive way.
“As Digital Minister, Ed has had a seat at the table as this debate has evolved, both in the UK and internationally, and he will now bring that experience to FTI and our clients.”
FTI Consulting recently made two other senior hires to the strategic communications division: Simon Lewis joins as global head of financial services and EMEA vice-chair, while Tim Hames becomes a senior advisor.