CISO’s Retirement Leaves Another Vacancy in Washington’s C-Suite

Agnes Kirk retired as Washington state’s chief information security officer June 1, a move that comes only two weeks after the state’s acting CIO Rob St. John announced his June 30 retirement plans.

by / June 15, 2018
Washington Chief Information Security Officer Agnes Kirk David Kidd/Government Technology

Washington's Chief Information Security Officer Agnes Kirk retired June 1, leaving another vacancy in the two top IT positions for the state, Government Technology has learned.

Kirk’s departure, announced in April, follows the mid-May disclosure by Washington’s acting CIO Rob St. John that he plans to retire on June 30. Washington state is currently conducting a search for St. John’s replacement but has yet to make an announcement of a new permanent CIO.

But Kirk’s position has temporarily been filled by acting CISO Phil Davis, who previously served as her deputy CISO within the state's Office of Cybersecurity (OCS), Davis told Government Technology.

However, he too noted that he will be leaving the OCS on July 16 to join the state’s Department of Financial Institutions as its CIO.

Although the state is currently without a permanent CIO or CISO and its acting officers are poised to depart in the coming weeks, Davis said there is no reason to worry.

“What we have is a very mature state agency and organization. Yes, the two top folks are retiring, but the management staff that reports to them are still by and large in place and the services are still being offered,” he said.

Sources close to the hiring process say the CIO selection is in its final stages, reporting that the field has narrowed to roughly 10 candidates from a large pool. The new CIO is expected to have experience working for a state agency, though not necessarily from Washington state.

Regardless of the selection for CIO and CISO posts, the state will have its hands full getting two top technology leaders on board and executing.

In offering advice to the next CISO, Davis, who served as a deputy CISO starting in 2016, has this to say: “One of the ongoing challenges is securing access to resources and ensuring the integrity of the state’s security is not compromised. The public has trust with Washington state and that trust needs to be maintained.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Kirk annouced her retirement in April, and retired June 1.

Dawn Kawamoto Former Staff Writer

Dawn Kawamoto is a former staff writer for Government Technology.