White House names former Microsoft exec new CIO

Faith Merino · August 4, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/1d7d

Steven VanRoekel succeeds Vivek Kundra as the next United States Chief Information Officer

The White House is welcoming a new Chief Information Officer to succeed Vivek Kundra.  Former Microsoft exec Steven VanRoekel, an Obama supporter who attended the inauguration, will become the next Chief Information Officer of the federal government, the New York Times reported Thursday.

The White House plans to make the big announcement on Thursday.  VanRoekel is no stranger to Washington, however.  In 2009, he left Microsoft to become the managing director of the Federal Communications Commission, and in June, he took up a post as Executive Director for Citizen and Organizational Engagement for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

VanRoekel’s 15-year career at Microsoft started with his first job as a premier support and presales technical advisor, and he steadily worked his way up to Director of Web Services and a speech and strategy assistant to Bill Gates. 

And the federal government isn’t hiring someone from the private sector for no reason.  The Times reports that the strategy is to build up the government’s productivity growth, which, historically, hasn’t been so hot.  While the private sector averages a productivity growth rate of about 1.5% a year, the federal government is only achieving about a third of that.

For the Obama administration, which has staked its identity in embracing technology and innovation, those numbers aren’t acceptable.  With the belief that technology could help the government save money and run more seamlessly, Vivek Kundra was appointed the United States’ first Federal Chief Information Officer in 2009.

Previously the CIO for District for Washington DC mayor Adrian Fenty’s cabinet, Kundra came on board and began sorting through $27 billion in technology projects.  As a result of Kundra’s efforts, a number of projects were either cut back or eliminated altogether, saving the government some $3 billion.

Following his two-year stint with the federal government, Kundra will be moving on to Harvard, where he’ll be taking joint appointments at the Kennedy School of Government and the law school’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.


Image source: govfresh.com

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