Federal CIO Vivek Kundra resigns

Thursday - 6/16/2011, 9:25am EDT

WFED's Jason Miller

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By Suzanne Kubota and Jason Miller
Federal News Radio

Vivek Kundra, the first-ever federal chief information officer, is resigning.

Federal News Radio has learned Kundra is planning to leave the White House in August.

Kundra is leaving the administration to serve as a joint fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Kundra will work with the Center on research for cloud computing, open data and open government. His research will focus on the "implications of digital media and technology on governance," according to a statement from Harvard.

OMB director Jack Lew said in a statement:

Today, Vivek Kundra, our nation's first federal chief information officer (CIO) announced that later this summer he will be leaving the post for a fellowship at Harvard University. When President Obama appointed Vivek Kundra as the first U.S. CIO, he 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. 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."

When he began at the White House, he brought with him the promise of good ideas and a hard-charging style focused on getting things done, necessary qualities to tackle the difficult issues facing federal IT - an aging infrastructure with rising operating costs, too many major projects failing to deliver, and increasing vulnerability to outside threats.

Two and a half years after joining the administration, Vivek has delivered on that promise. He has cracked down on wasteful IT spending, saved $3 billion in taxpayer dollars; moved the government to the cloud; strengthened the cybersecurity posture of the nation while making it more open, transparent, and participatory. His work has been replicated across the world from 16 countries that have deployed the data.gov model to tap into the ingenuity of their people to multiple countries that have deployed the IT dashboard to save money.

I want to congratulate him on his move to Harvard in mid-August to serve as a joint fellow at the Kennedy School and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. We are planning for a smooth transition, continuing these remarkable gains in changing the way the federal government manages IT and Vivek's impact on cutting waste and making government work better for the American people will continue to be felt well beyond his departure from federal service.

Kundra was named two and a half years ago as the federal chief information officer (CIO).

Politico first reported Kundra's decision to leave government.

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.

On Wednesday night, technology industry group TechAmerica named Kundra Government Technology Executive of the Year at the American Technology Awards.

TechAmerica President and CEO Phil Bond said in a statement, "Whether it's his work to bring greater efficiency to government through cloud computing or the introduction of the IT dashboard to make government more accountable and transparent, TechAmerica and its members have enjoyed working with Vivek. We wish him the best of luck and stand ready to work with his successor to continue what he started."

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) called Kundra's announcement bittersweet. "His departure makes it all the more important that we pass the Information Technology Investment Act that I recently introduced with Senators Lieberman, Collins, and Scott Brown. The bill takes Vivek's reforms and pushes them even further to make sure we are getting the best results for taxpayers' dollars."

Who do you think will replace Kundra? Tweet your answers with hashtag #Vivekv2.

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