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Colorado CIO Kristin Russell to Step Down

Russell, a leader in government cloud deployments, will take new cloud post with Deloitte.

by / April 21, 2014
Colorado OIT

Colorado CIO Kristin Russell will leave her job next month to join Deloitte Consulting, Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Monday. 

Russell has served as state CIO and executive director of the Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) since 2011. During her tenure, Russell spearheaded several notable initiatives, including the development of a multi-state cloud-based unemployment insurance solution and the transition of 26,000 Colorado state employees to the Google Apps for Government platform.

“[Russell] has made sure our Office of Information Technology has its feet securely on the ground, mindful of the present, while seizing the power of nimble and streamlined cloud-based systems to have us prepared for the rapidly evolving future,” Hickenlooper said in a prepared statement announcing Russell’s departure.

Hickenlooper added that Russell’s efforts to implement shared services and consolidate IT systems account for more than $2.5 million in annual cost savings and cost avoidance. 

Russell will leave her position with the state on May 9. She will lead a government cloud practice for Deloitte.

Before joining the Colorado OIT, Russell was vice president of Global IT Service Operations at Oracle, where she was responsible for data centers and computing operations worldwide. She was named one of Government Technology’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers in 2013.

Do you have what it takes to be Colorado's next CIO? The following is the information for the job opening, as provided by the Colorado governor's office:

The Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) is seeking a new Chief Information Officer.  

OIT is responsible for overseeing the operation and delivery of information technology services and innovation across all Executive Branch agencies in the State of Colorado. Furthermore, their mission is to increase the effectiveness, efficiency and elegance of government through the use of shared information and technology.

The charge is twofold. First, to oversee technology initiatives at the state level, recommending strategies and maximizing efficiencies of service delivery in a cost-effective manner through the application of enterprise technology solutions. Our enterprise approach enables the agile delivery of new applications to state agencies that improve citizen access to government services while increasing accountability and transparency.

OIT also leads the State's IT economic development efforts and works with the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) to promote Colorado as the ideal location for IT companies and technology-based workers.

The Chief Information Officer is responsible for an operating budget of approximately $300M and 1000 employees. A full description of the department and strategic plan can be found at Annual Compensation is $160,000 with a generous benefits package.


  • Establish service level agreements and annual budgets with each department of State government to enable the 3 E’s (Efficient, Effective, and Elegant) through trusted partnerships and technology.
  • Continue the consolidation of major IT systems, while leveraging shared services and IT standards across the state.
  • Deliver an outstanding user experience to Coloradans through all digital touch points including web, mobile, and social.
  • Attract, develop, and retain top talent to OIT that reflects the technology migration that is underway from old technologies to modern, web-based cloud solutions.
  • Continue to strengthen IT governance, which includes aligning strategic investments, establishing a sustainable funding model for IT, and improving the engagement and alignment with agency priorities.
  • Continue to support IT economic development activities in attracting new tech companies and tech workers to the state.
  • Provide statewide vision and leadership for developing and implementing state-of-the art enterprise technology, information, and infrastructure.
  • Ensure Colorado is a national leader and work across state agencies to develop and implement technologies in the areas of enterprise productivity tools, identity management, cloud hosting and infrastructure, IT security, and Open-Source Software (OSS).
  • Encourage a culture of innovation by supporting strategic implementation with emerging technologies and approaches.


  • BS degree, and ideally a Master’s degree in a related field along with at least 15 years of work experience in all phases of Information Technology.
  • Comprehensive and complete knowledge of all aspects of IT.
  • Executive management, financial and organizational skills necessary to lead and manage a large, complex organization comparable to the size and scale of OIT.
  • Proven ability to be innovative, creative and to develop new ideas, concepts and frameworks for addressing complex issues, to process and understand significant amounts of technical and detailed information, and to develop and implement policy and advocacy strategies.
  • Proven communications skills including experience producing and presenting written reports, press releases, policy documents, public testimony and public speaking.
  • Proven ability in developing and executing IT policies, procedures, and strategic plans.
  • Proven ability to define metrics based on overall business objectives to ensure the integrity, reliability, security, and performance of information and communication systems.
  • Demonstrated ability to apply emerging technology initiatives in solving business challenges.

✓    Follow through and customer service – have to believe that taxpayers and staff members are customers
✓    Demonstrated high degree of customer focus and responsiveness
✓    Excellent critical and strategic thinking skills
✓    Proven experience in managing a staff with diverse professional experience and qualifications
✓    Demonstrated excellent verbal and written communication skills, as well as interpersonal skills
✓    Excellent public speaking skills
✓    Collaborative team player
✓    Demonstrated ability to work in a complex political environment
✓    Openness to criticism and ideas: proven desire to “lean into conflict” to resolve
✓    Calm under pressure – including media and personal attacks
✓    Proactively engages on difficult and/or time sensitive issues
✓    Enthusiasm
✓    Must possess a reputation for the highest level of integrity and honesty
✓    Must be willing to be on-call for emergency response

1.    Fully implement a Customer Relationship Management approach with agency customers and continue IT financial reform to ensure successful and sustainable delivery of IT services.

  • a.    Close working relationship with all Cabinet members.
  • b.    Achieve 80% customer satisfaction rating from agencies relative to the level of support they receive from OIT.
  • c.    100% of all agencies have a FY15 IT strategic and budget plan by October 1, 2014.
  • d.    100% of agencies with signed OIT Service Level Agreements by October 1, 2014.
  • e.    Establish IT project prioritization at Cabinet level.

2.    Continue to lead the OIT organization in becoming a high performing organization.

  • a.    Fill 60% of all new hire positions within 60 days.
  • b.    Track and decrease OIT turnover and attrition with measureable goals by November 1, 2014.
  • c.    Establish technical certification training program.
  • d.    Continue leadership development and succession planning.

3.    Continue modernizing and consolidating key IT Systems to improve government service delivery and operational efficiency across the Executive Branch, including:

  • a.    Continue Google Apps for Government adoption;
  • b.    Implement CORE Modernization Project on July 1, 2014;
  • c.    Continue success of Colorado Benefits Management System (CBMS) Work Plan;
  • d.    Implement WYCAN (Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and North Dakota) Unemployment Insurance (UI) System by December 2016; and
  • e.    Deliver Colorado Department of Revenue DRIVES (Driver License, Record, Identification, and Vehicle Enterprise Solution) and other system improvements.

4.    Drive government efficiency by generating cost savings or avoidance to reinvest in innovative technology and/or meet new business demands.

  • a.    Achieve $3.5M in cost savings and/or cost avoidance by June 30, 2014.

5.    Create a sustainable ecosystem of public-private partnerships that strengthen the Colorado technology industry.

  • a.    Attract a minimum of two new technology companies.
  • b.    Achieve at least 5,000 technology-related new job announcements by June 30, 2014.

Submit cover letter, resume, and references as one document (PDF preferred) to Adam Zarrin, Executive Assistant to Roxane White, Chief of Staff, via email at by 12 p.m. on May 2, 2014. 

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