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Missouri CIO Announces Impending Retirement from State Service

CIO Michael Cheles is set to retire at the end of 2019, citing personal reasons. While serving as the state's IT chief, he increased training hours, opened channels of communication and readied Missouri for new solutions.

Missouri CIO Michael Cheles announced he will be retiring from his position for personal reasons.

He came on board with the Office of Administration IT Services Division in October 2018, taking over for Acting CIO Rich Kliethermes, who had been serving in an interim capacity since 2015. Cheles came to state service from the private sector, where he directed IT for companies like Gibson Brands Inc., UnitedHealth Technologies and SunEdison.

He told Government Technology that his work in Missouri government has been the ideal capstone to his career.

“My focus has been on increasing productivity, moving more deliberately to the cloud and positioning our application development capability to be more nimble with a focus on higher value projects,” Cheles said. “We will look to outsource much of the large system day-to-day maintenance.”

The outgoing CIO said he hasn’t been involved in efforts to find his replacement. A spokesperson with the Missouri Office of Administration, the agency overseeing the state’s IT efforts, said an interim CIO has not yet been identified.

Cheles said his greatest achievements in the past year have been in the area of professional development, with staff logging about 2,800 more hours of training than when he first took the job, as well as efforts to maneuver the state into a position to use software-as-a-service solutions.

“We have a lot of great people and hopefully, they have witnessed what is possible when they get some air cover and can focus on what they do best as well as have a platform to advance their ideas,” he said. “I was also extremely fortunate to have the respect of the cabinet that treated me as a co-leader to work towards better approaches and solutions for meeting the needs of the citizens of Missouri.”

Cheles’ last day as the state CIO will be Dec. 31.

Patrick Groves was a staff writer for Government Technology from 2019 to 2020.
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