Catherine Stihler

CEO at Open Knowledge Foundation

Catherine Stihler OBE has been chief executive of Open Knowledge Foundation since February 2019. Prior to this, she represented Scotland as a Member of the European Parliament for nearly 20 years from 1999. As Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, she worked on digital policy, prioritising the digital single market, digital skills, better accessibility of digital products for the disabled, as well as citizen online data protection and privacy. As leader and founder of the All-Party Library Group she promoted and advocated for the importance of libraries and how libraries can remain relevant in the new digital age.

Born in Bellshill in 1973, Catherine was educated at Coltness High School, Wishaw and St Andrews University, where she was awarded a MA (Hons) Geography and International Relations (1996), and a MLitt in International Security Studies (1998). Before becoming a MEP, Catherine served as President of St Andrews University Students Association (1994-1995) and worked in the House of Commons for Dame Anne Begg MP (1997-1999). She has a Master of Business Administration from the Open University, and in 2018 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of St. Andrews. Catherine was elected to serve as the 52nd Rector of the University of St. Andrews between 2014 and 2017, and was awarded an OBE in 2019 for services to politics.