North Carolina CIO Chris Estes will leave for the private sector within a week, Gov. Pat McCrory's office announced on Nov. 23. Estes will be replaced in an interim capacity by Deputy CIO Keith Werner.
“Chris has been instrumental in modernizing the state’s information technology operations,” McCrory said in a press release. “Not only has he saved the taxpayers millions of dollars, the customer-first attitude he brought from his private sector experience has made it easier for individual citizens and small business owners to interact and do business with state government.”
Estes is credited with leading the development of the state's Innovation Center, which provided state agencies a try-before-you-buy approach to IT procurement. Estes also oversaw data-centric projects like the North Carolina Financial Accountability and Compliance Technology System (NC FACTS), which identifies fraud and waste in areas like unemployment insurance, and the Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Automated Data Services (CJLEADS), a data integration system that provides law enforcement personnel with access to state-owned information in their vehicles.
Earlier this year, Estes shared with Government Technology how the state planned to fix some of the its recurrent problems uncovered in an audit, which included frequently going over budget and past deadline.
According to the state, Estes will return to a previous employer, consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he will support private-sector clients in the Carolinas.
“I would like to thank Governor McCrory for the opportunity to serve in his administration,” Estes said in the release. “Governor McCrory’s leadership in using technology to be more efficient and effective in serving the citizens sets him apart from other governors and even private sector CEOs.”