Mr Thomas said the ICO's work was now "centre stage".
Richard Thomas, the UK's Information Commissioner, has been appointed a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.
Mr Thomas has been Information Commissioner since 2002, soon after the organisation was first created.
He has overseen a change in its responsibilities from data protection to being an official protector of personal information.
It also oversees efforts to make government more transparent via freedom of information laws.
The official citation for the appointment said it was given for "public service".
"I am delighted to accept this honour," said Mr Thomas in a statement. "It is testimony to the efforts of all those who protect personal privacy and promote freedom of information.
"I am proud to have championed openness and transparency, and I am delighted to have been able to bring home the importance of data protection," he added.
The work of the Office of the Information Commissioner (ICO) had now "very clearly moved centre stage," he said.
In the past, Mr Thomas has warned about the danger that the UK could "sleep-walk into a surveillance society" and of damage done by continual intrusions into personal privacy.
He played tribute to the staff of the ICO and his family for their help during his tenure as commissioner. He is due to step down from the role as Commissioner later this month.