Richard Thomas, CBE LLD

Richard brings nearly forty years of privacy and data security experience to the Centre for Information Policy Leadership.

Richard serves as Global Strategy Advisor to the Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, a pathfinding global privacy and information security think tank. He brings to the position nearly 40 years of experience working across the private and public sectors.

Prior to joining the Centre, Richard was appointed by HM Queen to serve as Information Commissioner for the United Kingdom from November 2002 to June 2009. In this position, he held independent status and reported directly to Parliament. While at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Richard had a wide range of responsibilities including regulatory powers under the Freedom of Information Act of 2000, the Data Protection Act of 1998 and related laws.

In 2008, Richard was recognized as “Privacy Leader of the Year” by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) and ranked third in’s global “IT Agenda Setters” poll. That year, he also served as a visiting professor at Northumbria University.

Richard is frequently sought as a keynote speaker for industry conference and events and is regularly quoted in the business and trade media.

Relevant Experience

  • Former Information Commissioner for the United Kingdom, 2002-2009
  • Director of Consumer Affairs, Office of Fair Trading, 1986-1992
  • Legal Officer and Head of Public Affairs, National Consumer Council, 1979-1986


  • Deputy Chairman, Consumers Association
  • Chairman, Administrative Justice & Tribunals Council
  • Trustee, Whitehall & Industry Group
  • Board Member, International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)

Awards & Recognition

  • Leader in the Field, Data Protection, UK-wide, Senior Statesman, Chambers UK, 2012-2019
  • Listed in the London Times “Law 100” list of the 100 most influential British lawyers, 2008 and 2009
  • Honour of Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for public service, 2009
  • Awarded “Privacy Leader of the Year” by IAPP, 2008 
  • Placed third in's global “IT Agenda Setters” poll, 2008