California CIO Teri Takai will become CIO of the Department of Defense, she told colleagues and friends via e-mail Monday, Oct. 25.

Her last day working for California will be Nov. 5, she said. Takai will be replaced as state CIO on an interim basis by Chief Deputy Director Christy Quinlan.

Takai’s career move was a long time coming. The Obama administration first nominated Takai to become the Defense Department’s CIO in March, but her nomination was pulled off the table last month as part of a massive restructuring and hiring freeze ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in an effort to save $100 billion. But Pentagon officials said at the time that Takai could nevertheless find a home at Defense.

“When I arrived in Sacramento nearly three years ago, the Office of the State Chief Information Officer (OCIO) had just been created in statute,” Takai wrote Monday. “We set out to implement the governor’s agenda to transform and modernize California’s aging technology infrastructure. Starting next year, the California Technology Agency will move forward as envisioned by the Legislature and governor as technology continues to play a vital role in delivering services to our constituents.”

Takai became CIO of California in late 2007. For the past three years, she has led a massive reorganization and consolidation of California’s IT organization — an effort that’s reforming procurement, governance and strategy, and numerous other functions — and has required the cooperation and collaboration of all state agencies and approximately 130 agency-level CIOs. When complete, officials say the consolidation will save California nearly $3 billion by 2013.

Takai thanked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cabinet leaders and her staff and employees of the Office of the State Chief Information Officer (OCIO) for their support and hard work.

“I especially want to thank the agency and department CIOs for their leadership and many contributions to our community,” Takai wrote. “On behalf of the OCIO, we appreciate the support, interaction and time spent to dive with us into the details of policies and projects.”

Matt Williams Matt Williams  |  Contributing Writer

Matt Williams was previously the news editor of Govtech.com, and is now a contributor to Government Technology and Public CIO magazines.