Gillian Docherty, the chief executive of The Data Lab, one of Scotland’s eight innovation centres, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Docherty, a former IBM executive who has led efforts to push data science and artificial intelligence across Scotland, received the honour for her ‘services to information technology and business’.

She has worked in the technology sector for more than 26 years and is known as one of the most influential data professionals in the UK and since 2015 has served as the chief executive of The Data Lab, which aims to help businesses maximise value from data and champions Scotland’s data science community, enabling it to have a global impact.

Graduating from Glasgow University in 1993 with a BSc in Computing Science and having spent more than 22 years in various senior roles at IBM, Docherty has gone on to garner international recognition for her significant contribution to technology and business.

As well as her role as chief executive of The Data Lab, Docherty also sits on the boards of several organisations, including the SICSA Industry Advisory Board, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and the Scottish Government’s Data Delivery Group.

Last year, Docherty was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Technology from Robert Gordon University and in 2017 she was named among the top ten of DataIQ’s 100, a list outlining the most influential people in data-driven business. 

She said: “I am honoured to receive an OBE for services to information technology and business. The data science and artificial intelligence landscape in Scotland, the UK, and across the world is incredibly exciting and inspiring, so to be at the very heart of something so important in shaping the future of business and the economy is extremely rewarding. To be recognised in this way for doing something I am truly passionate about is incredible.”

“It is undoubtedly the most exciting time to be involved in data science, AI and technology and The Data Lab is absolutely committed to assisting industry and public sector to leverage data in new ways, fueling innovation through collaboration, building skills and growing talent. The use of data will continue to have a fundamental impact on our day-to-day lives, and so it’s vital organisations grasp hold of the endless opportunities it presents across all sectors and become part of a thriving data community.”

Mark Hunter, Chief Transformation Officer at Sainsbury’s Bank and Chairperson of the board at The Data Lab, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Gillian and amazing recognition of her career in information technology and business. Everyone at The Data Lab is delighted for Gillian and look forward to the next chapter where, under Gillian’s leadership, we aim to maximise the economic and social benefit of data for Scotland, and beyond.”