Chris Wigley appointed CEO of Genomics England

Written by: Mike Wood
Published on: 26 Jul 2019

Genomics England has today announced the appointment of Chris Wigley as Chief Executive Officer, with effect from 1 October.

Chris joins Genomics England from QuantumBlack, a world leader in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Machine learning is critical in the analysis of the vast amounts of data involved in genomics, so Chris’ expertise in this area will be invaluable in driving Genomics England’s pioneering work with the NHS to realise the true potential of genomic medicine.

Chris was a Partner at McKinsey from 2009 to 2015. He then focused on growing QuantumBlack, a McKinsey company, as Chief Operating Officer. Prior to this, he worked with the British Foreign Office as a diplomat, and on digital transformation at the BBC.

The Chair of Genomics England, Jonathan Symonds CBE, said:

Chris joins us at a significant time for Genomics England as it takes the next steps in using the data entrusted to us by participants to transform healthcare.  Chris’ vision and energy will maintain Genomics England’s place as a world leader in genomic medicine. His leadership experience at QuantumBlack will be fundamental to our goal of building a world leading organisation delivering genomic science and analytics into routine medical care with our partners in the NHS and medical research.

Chris said:

I am tremendously excited to be joining Genomics England at this pivotal time. The fantastic work on the original 100,000 Genomes Project mission (which many thought was impossible just a few short years ago) shows the talent and grit in this team. Of course it would also have not been made possible without the cooperation of so many stakeholders and, most importantly, the participants who put their trust in the Project and to whom we are deeply committed.  Today, Genomics England’s partnership with the NHS is leading the world in bringing cutting-edge genomics research and analytics into daily medical care to benefit people across the UK and beyond. I can’t wait to join the team and help shape the next chapter in this extraordinary journey to bring digital technologies and products to clinicians and researchers and – most importantly – achieve transformative outcomes for patients.

Sir Mark Caulfield, who has acted as Interim CEO, will continue his excellent strategic scientific and clinical leadership as Chief Scientist in the next phase of transformation of genomic medicine in the NHS.

Jonathan Symonds said:

I would like to thank our Chief Scientist, Sir Mark Caulfield, who acted as interim CEO over the past six months. His leadership as Chief Scientist and commitment to delivering the 100,000 Genomes Project is respected around the world. Mark’s extraordinary contribution to genomics was recognised this year with a knighthood.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:

Genomics has huge potential to diagnose diseases earlier, unlock solutions for rare conditions and provide tailored treatments to individual patients to boost their chances of recovery. It could also help us drive the preventative agenda and help people avoid developing some diseases at all.

We’re already leading the world in this exciting field and I’m delighted Chris will be helping us achieve our Long Term Plan ambition of bringing the benefits of personalised medicine to every patient, clinician and carer. Chris is a truly transformational leader and I have every confidence he will help the country realise our ambitious, world leading vision for Genomics England.

Baroness Blackwood, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, said:

I want to personally congratulate Chris on his appointment as Chief Executive of Genomics England. He is an excellent leader with a proven track record of delivery, and I am very confident that Genomics England will go from strength to strength under his leadership. I want to also put on record my thanks to Sir Mark Caulfield for his work as interim CEO over the past six months. He has made a fantastic contribution to genomics over his career and I am very pleased that this was recognised with a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Lord Prior, the chair of NHS England, said:

We are delighted that Chris Wigley will join Genomics England as Chief Executive. He has huge experience in digital innovation technological transformation and data analytics. His leadership and vision will bring exciting opportunities for Genomics England as it works hand in hand with the NHS to introduce personalised, precision medicines, early diagnostics and targeted prevention.