Minister for the Economy Gordon Lyons today appointed Karen Baxter as the first Ofcom Board Member for Northern Ireland.
The Minister confirmed the appointment following consultation with the UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Karen retired from policing in 2020, after a 30-year career that spanned service with the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Police Service of Northern Ireland, and the City of London Police.
More recently, as Commander and National Coordinator for Economic Crime, she had oversight for the most serious financial investigations in the United Kingdom. Karen was also the Police executive lead for Cyber Crime Prevention working with key stakeholders and the third sector to address emerging risks in the online space.
In 2020 Karen joined UK Finance as the Managing Director for Intelligence Strategy working across the banking sector to review the use and management of intelligence.
Speaking about the appointment, Minister Lyons said: “I am pleased to announce Karen Baxter as the first Ofcom Board Member for Northern Ireland. Karen has an extensive understanding of the issues facing the communications sector, and how a successful communications sector contributes to a stronger economy.
“I am also grateful to the Ofcom Board Member for Scotland, Bob Downes for his excellent work representing Northern Ireland in the interim period.”
Karen Baxter said: “I am pleased to have the opportunity to take on this new role at an important time for Ofcom. The communications sector provides essential services to everyone across Northern Ireland and the wider UK and is critical to the future success of the economy.”
Ofcom Interim Chair Maggie Carver commented: “I am delighted Karen Baxter has been confirmed as the first Ofcom Board member for Northern Ireland. Her appointment is a further step in ensuring Ofcom’s Board has voices representing consumers and citizens from across the UK. Karen has tremendous expertise in cyber security, which I am sure will be of great benefit as Ofcom prepares to take on new responsibilities for online safety.
“I would also like to thank Bob Downes for the tremendous work he has done in the last few years working with our Northern Ireland office and stakeholders and championing Northern Ireland at the Ofcom Board. We are all truly grateful.”
Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “I am pleased to welcome Karen to Ofcom and look forward to working together as we deliver on Ofcom’s priorities. Karen brings with her significant experience and knowledge from her previous roles in policing and cyber security which are especially relevant to Ofcom’s growing remit.”