[Journalists/bloggers: feel free to quote from anything here, crediting SAJAforum.org as appropriate]
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2009
President Obama Names Vivek Kundra Chief Information Officer
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama named Vivek Kundra the Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the White House.
The Federal Chief Information Officer directs the policy and strategic planning of federal information technology investments and is responsible for oversight of federal technology spending. The Federal CIO establishes and oversees enterprise architecture to ensure system interoperability and information sharing and ensure information security and privacy across the federal government. The CIO will also work closely with the Chief Technology Officer to advance the President’s technology agenda.
President Obama said, “Vivek Kundra will bring a depth of experience in the technology arena and a commitment to lowering the cost of government operations to this position. I have directed him to work to ensure that we are using the spirit of American innovation and the power of technology to improve performance and lower the cost of government operations. As Chief Information Officer, he will play a key role in making sure our government is running in the most secure, open, and efficient way possible.”
The following announcement was made today:
Vivek Kundra, Federal Chief Information Officer
Vivek Kundra formerly served in Mayor Fenty's cabinet as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the District of Columbia, responsible for technology operations and strategy for 86 agencies. He has been recognized among the top 25 CTO's in the country and as the 2008 IT Executive of the Year for his pioneering work to drive transparency, engage citizens and lower the cost of government operations. Kundra is also recognized for his leadership in public safety communications, cyber security and IT portfolio management. Before Kundra came to the District, Governor Timothy M. Kaine appointed him Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the first dual cabinet role in the state's history. Kundra's diverse record also includes technology and public policy experience in private industry and academia. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia's Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership and holds a MS in Information Technology from the University of Maryland.
We had noted on January 20 Steve Hamm's BusinessWeek reporting that the post was going to go to one of two India-born folks: Kundra or Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior. Asked for a comment today, Hamm told SAJAforum:
He seems like a good choice to be CIO. He brings innovative thinking to the way the government uses technology--including use of open source software and Web 2.0 collaboration software that involves the citizenry more in government. Also, over the years, there have been many wasteful technology adoption programs (IRS, for one) almost on the scale of some of the defense spending scandals. Given the financial pressures these days, the federal government has to become a model for good technology use and governance. I also like the fact that the Obama administration is apparently also going to have a CTO--somebody to advise on national technology policy issues. It would have been too much for one person to try to handle both of these jobs.
Other comments sent to SAJAforum:
From VIVEK WADHWA, a fellow at Harvard Law School and executive in residence at Duke University: "Vivek Kundra is brilliant -- he got this job solely on his merits and abilities. I think he will do a great job and will be a great example for desis."
NOTE: Of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, there are four state CTOs who are Indian-American:
- Gopal Khanna in Minnesota - see SAJA item when he became president of the national association of state CIO/CTOs (Khanna, a Republican, had served in the George W. Bush White House)
- Aneesh Chopra in Virginia
- Anand Dubey in Alaska (see SAJAforum item on him)
- Vivek Kundra in DC
Please post your comments below. If you can help explain the difference between a CIO and a CTO and how it might work since Obama has one of each, please do.
BELOW: Old Kundra bio as DC CTO, since removed and here's video of him talking about how he got into public service.
Chief Technology Officer, District of Columbia Government
Vivek Kundra was appointed by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on March 27, 2007 to the Cabinet post of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the District of Columbia. As CTO, Kundra leads the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), an organization of over 600 staff that provides technology services and leadership for 86 agencies, 38,000 employees, residents, businesses, and millions of visitors.
Kundra brings to the role of CTO a diverse record that combines technology and public policy experience in government, private industry, and academia.
Before Kundra came to the District, Governor Timothy M. Kaine appointed him Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the first dual cabinet role in the state’s history. Kundra developed technology innovations to streamline government and enhance business opportunity, including a dashboard that uses business intelligence to maximize the participation of citizens in state procurement. In 2007 he assembled the largest United States trade delegation ever to visit India, comprised of over one hundred business leaders, which resulted in a $99 million investment for the state.
In the private sector, Kundra led technology companies serving national and international customers. He served as Vice President of Marketing for Evincible Software, a company focused on electronic signatures and identity management for the financial services and defense sectors. As CEO of Creostar, he advised clients in government and industry on IT governance and strategy.
Earlier Kundra served as Director of Infrastructure Technology for Arlington, Virginia. Within nine months after taking the post on September 11, 2001, he built the first high-speed municipal I-Net in the country. He also advanced business and economic development in Arlington, Zurich, Paris, Berlin and Wales through the World Cities Alliance.
Kundra has also served as adjunct faculty at the University of Maryland, teaching courses in the theory and application of new technologies ranging from wireless protocols to artificial intelligence.
Kundra holds an MS in information technology and a BS in psychology from the University of Maryland. He is also a graduate of University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.
Since Kundra became District CTO, he and OCTO have been honored with a series of major information technology (IT) awards. In 2008, InfoWorld Magazine named Kundra among its “CTO 25,” 25 senior IT leaders from government, nonprofits, and private industry who apply creativity, tech savvy and management skills to drive excellent results. In addition, the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium recognized Kundra among outstanding IT innovators who use leadership skills, business-technology acumen and out-of the-box thinking to address ever-increasing challenges facing their organizations.