Estonia names new secretary of state

By on 18/11/2018
Taimar Peterkop, head of Estonia's state IT system, will be the country's next secretary of state.

The head of Estonia’s state IT system has been chosen to be the next secretary of state, prime minister Jüri Ratas announced this week, replacing the long-standing civil service chief Heiki Loot.

Taimar Peterkop has been director general of the country’s Information System Authority (RIA) since May 2015. He played a key role in dealing with the 2017 ID card crisis, where the hardware behind citizens’ ID cards was found to be vulnerable to cyber attacks. This impressed Ratas, according to Estonian news website err.ee.

Ratas said that Peterkop has proven himself in several state agencies, and has broad management experience and an understanding of how the state functions. “He is a professional, responsible and trustworthy leader, corresponding entirely with the qualities I expect in a state secretary. It is for these reasons that I proposed that he take on the position of secretary of state.”

From IT to the top

Peterkop expressed his gratitude for the prime minister’s recognition of his work, and said he’d accepted Ratas’ proposal: “The experience that I have gained in various public authorities has given me a broad and versatile understanding of the operating of the state and a good foundation to perform the demanding duties of the secretary of state.”

Peterkop was born in Tallinn on 20 January 1977. He has a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Tartu in south eastern Estonia, and a master’s degree in strategic leadership from the US Army War College in Pennsylvania. He has previously worked at the Ministry of Defence, the Government Office and the Estonian Embassy in Washington.

The state secretary is appointed for a term of five years, with Peterkop’s term due to begin in mid-December.

The appointment of Peterkop was made to fill the role left by Heiki Loot, who will become a Justice at the Supreme Court of Estonia in early December. We will be running an exit interview with Loot in the next few days, in the run-up to his departure at the end of this month.

About Catherine Early

Catherine is a freelance journalist and editor specialising in government policy and regulation. She writes predominantly about environmental issues and has held permanent roles at the Environmentalist (now known as Transform), the ENDS Report, Planning magazine and Windpower Monthly, and has also written for the Guardian, the Ecologist and China Dialogue. She was a finalist in the Guardian’s International Development Journalism competition 2009, and was part of the team that won PPA Business Magazine of the Year 2011 for Windpower Monthly. She also won an outstanding content award at Haymarket Media Group’s employee awards for data-led stories in Planning magazine. She holds a 2:1 honours degree in English language and literature from Birmingham University.

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