Sharon White, Kim Mears Honoured In New Year’s List

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Former Ofcom chief executive Sharon White. Ofcom

Former Ofcom chief executive Sharon White and Openreach fibre boss Kim Mears recognised for services to public and telecoms industry

Sharon White, former head of Ofcom, and Kim Mears, who leads Openreach’s fibre-optic network rollout, have both been awarded New Year honours by the Queen.

White was chief executive of Ofcom for four years, departing in November 2019 to become chair of the John Lewis retail group.

She oversaw the period in which BT split away its infrastructure operations into a separate group, called Openreach.

During White’s tenure the regulator also began working toward making broadband and mobile pricing fairer for consumers.

Openreach managing director of strategic infrastructure development Kim Mears. Openreach
Openreach managing director of strategic infrastructure development Kim Mears. Openreach

Public service

Dame Sharon White was recognised for “public service” while at Ofcom.

White said she was “very grateful” for the award, which she said was “really a recognition of the hard work and dedication of my colleagues at Ofcom”.

Mears was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for “services to the telecommunications industry”.

She worked previously with BT and now Openreach, where she is managing director for strategic infrastructure development, heading the group’s fibre-optic projects.

She has been a key figure in the BDUK and superfast broadband roll-outs.

Tech list

Other key tech figures recognised in the New Year Honours list include Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre, who has been appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath; Caroline Hargrove, chief executive of Babylon Health, which operates the NHS GP at Hand app, who was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to engineering; and Andrew Wylie, co-founder of software company Sage, knighted for services to business and charity.

In all, some 1,097 people received an award recognising merit, exceptional achievement or service.

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