Outgoing Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner named Chief Technology Officer Jack King to serve as the state’s interim CIO starting with the new year. King brings nearly three decades of private-sector experience to the position.
Jack King has been named the new Illinois interim CIO and acting secretary of the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT), outgoing Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Friday, Dec. 21.
The appointment follows the departure of CIO Kirk Lonbom, who announced his retirement earlier this month. King will take over as CIO Jan. 1, about two weeks before Gov.-Elect J.B. Pritzker is inaugurated. New governors often appoint new CIOs.
King has served as chief technology officer for the state, a role he held since April 2018 and his first foray into government work. Before coming to DoIT, King spent 28 years in the private sector, including high-level positions in the health-care and professional services industries.
He joined the state just before Gov. Rauner signed a bill making DoIT a permanent part of Illinois government in July. King said the work the agency was doing is what drew him to the CTO position.
The core of King’s work as CTO was an effort to stand up Illinois’ first hybrid cloud initiative, and he sees the implementation of that project going forward as a key underpinning to the work the rest of DoIT is doing, and explained, “that helps us go out there and pave the way for innovation in the future in a cost-effective way.”
He said his No. 1 priority as CIO “is to continue to create an innovation-focused, data-driven culture, to seek out opportunities to design and deliver citizen-centric, high-value services.”
Another main focus will be to continue the consolidation and unification of state IT efforts begun in the last several years, along with an emphasis on strategically using the vast amounts of data the state holds. Illinois has more than 13 petabytes of data across 40 state agencies, and King said understanding all that data is crucial.
“The two most important things are making sure we continue the unification process and that we’re doing everything possible to leverage the platforms and investments that we’ve put in place,” he said, “particularly around continuing to understand our data resources and to be able to leverage data to change things from reactive situations to proactive situations.”
The announcement of King’s appointment comes at an interesting time for gov tech leaders, as 20 new governors prepare to take office across the country in the coming weeks. When Pritzker takes the governor's office Jan. 14, King plans to ensure that DoIT’s strategic plan is aligned with the new administration’s, a tactic he has found to be successful in his private-sector work.
“Step one is establishing rapport and conversation [with Pritzker’s administration] and making sure we have alignment, while not missing any beats, making sure we keep the lights on, doors open, and keep everybody focused on continuing with the transformation,” King said.