In December, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced the appointment of Teresa (Teri) M. Takai as the state's CIO. Takai, widely recognized as one of the nation's top government IT executives, served five years as Michigan CIO.

Schwarzenegger said Takai's hiring is part of an ongoing effort to rebuild essential state services.

"Two years ago, I introduced my Strategic Growth Plan to rebuild and improve California's crumbling infrastructure," Schwarzenegger said, "but our state's infrastructure isn't limited to the physical roads, bridges and levees that need repair. We also have to expand and improve California's technology to meet our future needs. Teri is the perfect person to do that. She has over 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 - who enjoyed a close working relationship with her former boss, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm - said Schwarzenegger's commitment to IT was a factor in her decision to accept the California position.

"Gov. Schwarzenegger has an aggressive plan to expand and improve California's technology, and he is dedicated to utilizing IT to support and transform California's government services," Takai said. "I look forward to the role I will play in making that happen."

She expects to build on the work of J. Clark Kelso, who has been California CIO since 2002. "It will be essential to build on that success and the work that's been started by Clark Kelso to ensure that all of California's IT organizations are moving forward in unison to meet the objectives of the governor," Takai said.

The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) commended Schwarzenegger's appointment of Takai.

"Teri has a wealth of management and IT experience in both the public and private sectors, and has proven herself a true visionary in government IT," said ITAA President and CEO Phil Bond in a news release.

Takai begins the new position in January, pending confirmation by the California Senate.

 
Looking Back
Takai became director of the Michigan Department of Information Technology (MDIT) in 2003, at the midpoint of the state's ambitious IT centralization initiative. She led an effort that merged IT staff and resources throughout the state into a single technology department. Under Takai's leadership, Michigan topped the Center for Digital Government's Digital States Survey in 2004 and 2006.

Completing the consolidation effort ranks among Takai's most satisfying accomplishments.

"I am proud we have been able to use technology to improve the way citizens in Michigan interact with state government, while reducing the cost of technology for the services we provide," she said. "Finally, I am pleased with the success we have had in reaching out beyond the boundaries of state government by partnering with local government and private partners to bring improved services to the citizens."

Takai also expressed appreciation for Michigan government employees, who confronted numerous hurdles as the state struggled to rebuild its rust-belt economy. "In Michigan, we have faced difficult challenges and the most difficult state budget crisis in history," she said, "and the state work force stood tall and continued to deliver outstanding service to Michigan citizens and businesses."

Before entering state service, Takai spent 30 years at Ford Motor Co., where she led the development of the company's IT strategic plan. Takai also held technology positions at Electronic Data Systems Corp., and Federal-Mogul Corp.

 
Theis Named Michigan CIO
Kenneth D. Theis, deputy director of the MDIT, will replace Takai as Michigan CIO. Theis came to Michigan state government nine years ago from General Motors Corp.

"We are fortunate to have such a skilled and talented leader in Ken Theis," Granholm said in a statement. "Ken brings a wealth of experience to the table and will no doubt continue the great work that has already been accomplished by the department."

Granholm also praised Takai for her leadership at the MDIT.

"I thank Director Takai for her five years of dedicated service to the citizens of Michigan," Granholm said. "She will be long regarded for her pivotal role and leadership in helping reduce the cost of technology in Michigan government and streamlining technology services."

Wayne Hanson  |  Senior Executive Editor, Center For Digital Government