Cloud hosting firm UKFast has appointed current IT director Neil Lathwood as chief technology officer.

The appointment comes as the firm looks to accelerate its DevOps approach and deliver more automation within its products and processes.

Lathwood, UKFast's longest serving employee, joined founders Lawrence and Gail Jones in 2000 and now oversees technical delivery of all hosting solutions to clients alongside complimentary software creation and implementation.

Following a number of internal technical promotions across his team, Lathwood is stepping into the role as the firm’s first CTO.

Lathwood said: "The title of CTO means different things to different businesses. For us, the key focus of this role is to bridge the gap between the tech teams and R&D. It's about connecting the day-to-day business of supporting our clients with the delivery of new products and features to help them grow.

"Our current DevOps team has grown massively in recent years and now represents around 20 per cent of our workforce. I can see us adding hundreds more in coming years. 

"By putting more resource into delivering products and building more automation into the provisioning, maintenance and monitoring of our solutions we improve our level of service, making things easier for our clients."

During Lathwood's 18-year tenure at UKFast, the firm’s annual revenue has grown from £100,000 to £47m. 

"Developing leaders from within guarantees a much smoother transition, which is incredibly important whilst we continue to evolve and grow at speed," said CEO Lawrence Jones.

"We interviewed a number of CTOs but were unable to find anyone who came close to Neil's skill, passion and understanding of our industry. I’m hugely excited to see what he does at the helm of this new arm of the business."

UKFast owns and operates four datacentres in Trafford Park and is currently working on developing further DC sites across the region.