Dr Sachiko Scheuing started as a marketing database analyst at an international hotel chain. After completing a PhD, she joined Acxiom in 1999 as the chief analyst in its Dutch office. A few years later, a visit by the then chief privacy officer sparked her interest and she joined the global privacy team, moving into her current role in 2005.
Sachiko is in charge of policy work, internal compliance, public affairs. She is also the data protection officer (DPO), a role she took on before it became mandatory under GDPR. Through that, she began to network with other Dutch data protection officers via the local association and then, as European focus on the issue grew, she reached out to similar associations.
This led to the creation of an umbrella organisation, the Confederation of European Data Protection Organisations (cedpo.eu), which was closely involved during the consultation phase of the Regulation. At the same time, Sachiko became involved in FEDMA, the European Federation of Direct and Interactive Marketing Associations, becoming co-chair in 2014 and now serving her third term. Her mission in leading FEDMA has been to focus its advocacy onto responsible data use.
At Acxiom, which uses data and technology to understand and engage customers, her role is to ensure it does so responsibly, as well as to discuss the right approach with clients. This includes encouraging them to continue to innovate with data - something that is recognised in Article 6.4 of the GDPR - while maintaining privacy. Tools like pseudonymisation are an important element of the creative use of data at the cutting edge, such as data science and AI, where Sachiko is often called on to provide guidance on the privacy impacts.
Part of the appeal she identifies in having crossed over from being an analyst to the realms of data protection came from having a strong interest in both the humanities and sciences. Expert knowledge is less the point than communicating clearly what is involved. She notes that she is often the translator between legal and compliance specialists and data and analytics practitioners, with a perfect blend of experience to speak to both.
Sachiko is a skilled networking, influencer and advisor who has brought a clear-sighted understanding of what industry wants to achieve with data - operating within responsible boundaries - to the attention of legislators across Europe. Her ambition is to continue to contribute to the robust, sustainable growth of the data-driven economy.