CIO Career Changes of 2019: Tracking Transitions Nationwide

Whether their title includes information, data, security or otherwise, Government Technology followed changes to the job titles of IT leaders at the state, county and local levels throughout 2019.

by / December 2019

As a year that kicked off with 20 new governors taking office in states across the country, 2019 was bound to be a big one for CIOs and their colleagues looking to find new positions. While Government Technology found that a new governor doesn’t necessarily mean a new state tech chief, CIOs at all levels of government and from all backgrounds were on the move. From familiar faces leaving posts to new leaders taking the reins, here were the big tech transitions of 2019.

JANUARY

Vincent Martinez was elevated to the state CIO position in New Mexico, filling a vacancy left when Darryl Ackley departed last year.

Todd Nacapuy stepped down as Hawaii CIO to return to the private sector, and former state comptroller and vice president of fiscal affairs Douglas Murdock was tapped as his replacement.

After David DeVries stepped down as Michigan CIO in December, Tricia L. Foster was appointed director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget; however, as of press time, the state CIO position remains vacant. DTMB also hired Chris DeRusha, a former White House cybersecurity adviser, as chief security officer in February.

South Bend, Ind., named Denise Linn Riedl as innovation officer to replace Santiago Garces, who headed to Pittsburgh to lead the Department of Innovation and Performance.

Laila Alequresh, a veteran of public-sector technology work, was tapped to lead Dallas’ new Office of Innovation as the city’s first-ever chief innovation officer.

Robert von Wolffradt stepped down after more than six years as Iowa’s CIO. In April, he took on the same role for the city of Abilene, Texas.

Just days after taking office, newly elected Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced the appointment of private-sector tech veteran Theresa Szczurek as the new CIO.

Colorado CIO Theresa Szczurek / credit: David Kidd


Newly elected Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced the appointment of David Ostrowe as the state’s secretary of digital transformation and administration.

Following a decade-long stint in public-sector service, Ohio Turnpike Executive Director Randy Cole departed for Cleveland-based blockchain startup Ownum.

Florida CIO Eric Larson left the Agency for State Technology (AST) as a new governor took the reins. AST was brought under the state’s Department of Management Services in June. In July, Florida named a new deputy CIO, Heath Beach, to lead its new Division of State Technology.

FEBRUARY

Former New Jersey CIO Steve Emanuel returned to the public sector to serve as CIO of Newark, N.J.

The Atlanta Information Management Department announced the appointment of William Wade III as the city’s new chief information security officer.

Cincinnati’s chief performance officer, Leigh Tami, departed for a similar role with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation as director of data analytics. She was replaced by Nicollette Staton.

Longtime California IT leader Chris Cruz announced he would step down as deputy CIO and head to San Joaquin County, Calif., as CIO and IT director.

Gordon Knopp was tapped to replace Tony Young as the director of the Wyoming Department of Enterprise Technology Services.

Newark+NJ+CIO+Steve+Emanuel

Newark, N.J., CIO Steve Emanuel / credit: David Kidd


MARCH

Reenie Askew took the reins as CIO in Charlotte, N.C., after serving as Houston’s deputy CIO for more than five years.

Lindsey Parker was named the permanent CIO of Washington, D.C., having served in an interim capacity since January.

San Jose, Calif., found a new assistant CIO in Jerry Driessen, formerly the CIO of Hennepin County, Minn. The Board of Commissioners chose longtime county IT employee Glen Gilbertson to succeed him.

Three IT officials in Illinois announced their departures: Acting CIO Jack King, Department of Information and Technology Chief of Staff Tyler Clark, and DoIT Chief Strategy Officer Shanna Rahming. Newly sworn-in Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker appointed Ron Guerrier, a veteran of private-sector IT, as state CIO.

In February, Alaska CIO Peter Zuyus, who replaced Bill Vajda, departed after just two months on the job. John Boucher later confirmed to GT that he had been acting CIO of Alaska since Feb. 14, the third person to hold the position in either an interim or permanent capacity since December 2018. In October, Alaska made it four when Ben Shier took over from Boucher.

After four years as chief innovation officer in Kansas City, Mo., Bob Bennett moved on, taking a position as chair of smart city think tank Cities Today Institute. In May, the city announced his replacement, Alex Braszko, an Army veteran like Bennett.

Maine tapped Fred Brittain as state CIO after two decades leading IT in the University of Maine system.

Boston announced two appointments: Stefanie Costa Leabo as chief data officer and Gregory McCarthy as the city’s inaugural chief information security officer.

Michael Kratsios was nominated by President Donald Trump as federal chief technology officer, a position that had previously been vacant for two years.

Maine CIO Fred Brittain / credit: David Kidd


APRIL

Former Alaska Chief Information Security Officer Shannon Lawson, a former security specialist with the Navy, landed in Phoenix as the city’s new CISO.

Tarek Tomes was tapped to lead Minnesota Information Technology Services after Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne’s departure in January ahead of the arrival of a new gubernatorial administration. Jeff Nyberg was named the state’s new CTO in September.

Stanton Gatewood stepped down as Georgia’s chief information security officer, and David Allen, an IT leader with the Georgia Army National Guard, was selected to take his place.

After four years at the helm, Massachusetts CIO Dennis McDermitt headed to the private sector. Secretary of the Executive Office for Technology Services and Security Curtis Wood stepped in to fill the role.

Joshua Edmonds was hired as Detroit’s inaugural director of digital inclusion, a position created to address digital equity issues within the city.

MAY

Philadelphia consolidated its geographic information officer and chief data officer positions, with Geographic Information Officer Hank Garie taking on both titles.

Jack Harris was elevated from interim to permanent chief technology officer in Michigan.

Peter Liebert stepped down after almost three years serving as California’s chief information security officer.

Henderson, Nev., CIO of seven years Laura Fucci retired from government service.

Colorado appointed its first-ever blockchain solution architect Thaddeus “Thad” Batt, who has more than 20 years of experience working in IT.

Washington state’s first chief privacy officer, Alex Alben, left the position, which was filled by Wilford Saunders Jr.  

Wanda Gibson left her post as the head of IT for Fairfax County, Va., after more than 20 years, taking on the role of CIO in neighboring Prince George’s County, Md.

JUNE

New York City IT Commissioner and CIO Samir Saini tendered his resignation and headed back to the private sector. As of press time, the role remained vacant.

Laura Meixell ended her 5.5-year run as director of digital services in Pittsburgh, moving on to be enterprise data architect in surrounding Allegheny County, Pa.

Maryland created the Office of Security Management, selecting John Evans to lead it as state chief information security officer.

JULY

In a controversial move, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo cut funding for the cybersecurity officer position held by Mike Steinmetz.

San Diego bid farewell to its chief data officer of five years, Maksim Percherskiy.

Bill Nixon took the reins as CIO in Johnson County, Kan., after a career that included time as executive vice president and chief enterprise architect at UMB Bank.

After nearly 30 years serving Milwaukee County, Wis., including 10 years as CIO, Laurie Panella departed to lead IT at her alma mater, Marquette University.

Chicago CIO and Commissioner Danielle DuMerer announced she had taken the position of vice president of technology for Shedd Aquarium. As of press time, a replacement had not been named.

Chicago CIO Danielle DuMerer

Former Chicago CIO Danielle Dumerer / credit: David Kidd


AUGUST

Former Boston CIO Jascha Franklin-Hodge was named the first executive director of the nonprofit Open Mobility Foundation.

Arizona got a new chief information security officer, Tim Roemer, who among other things spent 10 years working for the CIA. Also in Arizona, CIO Morgan Reed, on the job since 2015, departed for the private sector.

Paul Kresser was hired as Denver’s new chief data officer, coming off a nine-year stint with the city of Boston.

Nicolas Andersen became the shortest-serving state CISO when he departed Vermont for the West Wing, having logged only nine months on the job.

New York CIO Robert Samson announced his retirement, marking the end of a second career for the experienced IT leader. Joseph J. Rabito was appointed to replace him in an interim capacity.

In Kansas, Department of Administration Secretary DeAngela Burns-Wallace was selected to take the place of Lee Allen as the state’s new chief information technology officer.

After eight years with the El Paso, Texas, IT department, including six as its director, Enrique Martinez Jr. left for the chief technology officer position in Arlington, Texas.

Oklahoma’s new CISO, Matt Singleton, came to state service after six years of IT security roles at Oklahoma University.

SEPTEMBER

Nevada CIO Michael Dietrich returned to the private sector after 18 months of state service.

Government IT veteran Phil Bertolini announced his retirement as CIO of Oakland County, Mich., and joined e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government* as co-executive director.  

Connecticut’s first-ever Chief Data Officer Tyler Kleykamp departed state service and accepted a position at Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation.

Kevin Parker was appointed as North Dakota’s new chief reinvention officer.

Washington state CISO Ronald Buchanan, on the job since January, departed for the health-care sector, and South Carolina deputy CISO Vinod Brahmapuram was appointed to take his place.

David McCurdy ended his five-year run as CTO in Colorado, taking a position in the private sector.

Missouri CIO Michael Cheles announced he would retire at the end of the year, citing personal reasons.

Former Nevada CIO Michael Dietrich / credit: David Kidd


OCTOBER

Five months after Baltimore suffered a catastrophic ransomware attack, Frank Johnson stepped down as the city’s CIO. Todd A. Carter took over the position on an interim basis.

Raleigh, N.C., CIO D. Darnell Smith left city service for a position with Standard Textile. IT Business Applications Director Beth Stagner was named interim CIO.

Carrie Parikh stepped down as New Jersey’s chief operating officer, as well as its chief data and privacy officer, a role she held since July 2019. Roger Gibson was appointed to be her replacement.

Massachusetts’ first Chief Data and Digital Officer Holly St. Clair left state service after nearly four years for a job in the private sector.

Dewand Neely Indiana CIO

Former Indiana CIO Dewand Neely / credit: David Kidd


NOVEMBER

Indiana IT veteran Dewand Neely left his position as state CIO to join a nonprofit. As of press time, a replacement had not been named.

When North Dakota CISO Sean Wiese was tapped to lead the state’s new Cyber Operations Center, Kevin Ford was recruited from the private sector to replace him.

*The Center for Digital Government is part of e.Republic, Government Technology’s parent company.

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