C-suite officials who leave the public sector don’t typically stay very close, but Oregon’s technology leader, who announced his impending departure last month, has accepted a high-level post elsewhere in state government, an official confirmed to Government Technology.
In an April 6 news release, the state announced that Alex Pettit, its chief information officer, would be resigning effective June 1, making way for Deputy CIO Terrence Woods to serve as interim CIO during a nationwide search for a permanent replacement.
Pettit, the state’s CIO of four years, will join Secretary of State Dennis Richardson's office in June as the business continuity program manager, a newly created position, Debra Royal, Richardson’s chief of staff, said via email.
“In his role as a business continuity program manager for the Secretary of State, Alex will oversee our business continuity project, enhance elections infrastructure, lead the agency emergency management program and direct the implementation of the Agency Operations Center, which will be used by agency managers to respond to crisis situations,” Royal said.
Pettit was previously Oklahoma’s first-ever CIO and has a doctorate in information sciences, Royal said, pointing out he is also designated a certified business continuity professional by Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRI), a nonprofit that helps organizations globally handle disasters.
Gov. Kate Brown’s Press Secretary Bryan Hockaday confirmed that the state’s nationwide search for a permanent CIO to replace Pettit is underway but said there was “nothing to update at this point.”
In an interview with the East Oregonian (EO) Media Group’s Capital Bureau reporter Claire Withycombe, Richardson described hiring Pettit as an “absolute coup” and said it was part of a drive to bring “world-class people” to the Secretary of State’s office.
“I have great respect for him,” Richardson told EO Media Group. In an interview published on May 2, Richardson told the Willamette Week he would give the state an “A” grade for “electoral integrity” and described its election system as “secure or more secure than any other state.”
In its announcement last month, the state said Brown and the CIO had “mutually agreed” the time was right for a new tech leader “to build on his work and move the governor’s vision for information technology [IT] governance forward.”
Theo Douglas is a staff writer for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes covering municipal, county and state governments, business and breaking news. He has a Bachelor's degree in Newspaper Journalism and a Master's in History, both from California State University, Long Beach.