CIO Sightings: Takai Becomes California CIO

Teri Takai becomes California CIO. Ken Theis named to CIO post in Michigan.

by News Staff / January 31, 2008

One of the worst-kept secrets among public-sector CIOs becomes official. Teri Takai has accepted the position as CIO of California. In announcing her appointment, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pointed out that the state must improve and expand its IT infrastructure. "Teri is the perfect person to do that," he said. "She has [more than] 30 years of experience in this field and possesses the vision necessary to make our great state a leader in the effective use of information technology." Takai is the former Michigan CIO, where she led one of the most comprehensive - and some say, most challenging - IT consolidation efforts ever in state government.

Takai faces numerous challenges in taking over the top IT position in the nation's largest state by population and budget. Not surprisingly, the problems start with money, according to John Thomas Flynn, partner with Flynn, Kossick & Associates, and a former California CIO. Takai has to get a handle on the state's IT spending program, which has become extremely diffuse since the state abolished a central CIO position several years ago.

Flynn also cautioned that Takai must quickly establish project oversight and budget control for the state's dozen or so multimillion dollar IT projects. If Takai creates a good senior management IT team and makes some quick gains early on, Flynn believes she has a good chance of succeeding in a state that has been synonymous with big IT project failures.

With Takai's departure, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed Kenneth D. Theis director of the Department of Information Technology. Theis had been deputy director and led the successful implementation of several large IT projects, including a statewide child support enforcement system.

Maryland's newest CIO is Elliot H. Schlanger, who will take over the state's Information Technology Division. He's the former CIO of Baltimore, where he led the 311 hotline service, one of the first in the country. As state CIO, his priorities will include IT consolidation and security, according to Gov. Martin O'Malley's office.

Computerworld magazine's annual award program honoring the 100 "Premier IT Leaders" for 2008 include the following public-sector individuals:

  • Ben Berry, CIO, Oregon Department of Transportation
  • Don DeLoach, CIO, Tallahassee, Fla.
  • Brenda Decker, CIO, Nebraska
  • Sheng Guo, CTO, New York State Unified Court System
  • Michael Hites, CIO, New Mexico State University
  • Charles Scott Lambert, project manager, U.S. Army
  • Stephen Levin, CIO of University Services, University of Minnesota
  • Hugh Miller, CTO, San Antonio
  • Ram Murthy, director of application systems, Peace Corps
  • Neal Puff, CIO, Yuma County, Ariz.
  • Teri Takai, CIO, California