San Francisco Chief Innovation Officer Canellakis Departs

Krista Canellakis had been with the city for nearly seven years, starting out as a Mayor’s Innovation Fellow back in 2013 and rising to the position of chief innovation officer in February of 2018.

by / November 8, 2019
Former San Francisco Chief Innovation Officer Krista Canellakis (left) accepts an award for the Civic Bridge program at CityLab 2019 in Washington, D.C. CityLab, Bloomberg Philanthropies

San Francisco Chief Innovation Officer Krista Canellakis has departed her role after spending nearly seven years with the city.

Canellakis announced her departure Friday on social media, noting that yesterday was her last day “for now.” During her time in San Francisco City Hall, Canellakis held a variety of positions, all of which were in innovation work. She started out as a Mayor’s Innovation Fellow in February of 2013, before next rising to innovation officer and then deputy innovation officer. 

In February 2018, Canellakis was appointed chief innovation officer after her predecessor, Jay Nath, departed to work full time on the growing Startup in Residence Program, which started in City Hall during both of their tenures and has since become international. 

It was not immediately clear Friday afternoon what Canellakis’ next step would be or who would replace her in the lead innovation officer role, with the city’s website still listing Canellakis in the position. 

During Canellakis’ time in San Francisco, the city emerged as a leader in government tech and innovation work. With San Francisco’s wealth of local tech companies and talent, the city was able to make major strides in bridging the gap between the public and private sectors in the name of using technology to solve shared community challenges. 

In addition to having helped create and establish the Startup in Residence Program — which enticed startup companies to work with government through use of simplified procurement and valuable experience that could translate to future business — Canellakis also oversaw a program called Civic Bridge, which helped facilitate volunteer efforts by local tech and innovation talent to make the city better.

In fact, late last month Canellakis received an international accolade for the Civic Bridge program on behalf of San Francisco at CityLabDC, the pre-eminent summit for urban leadership.

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