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Louisiana Names Derek Williams as CIO After Howze Departure

Williams, a veteran of Louisiana state government and technology operations, takes over for one of the longest serving state CIOs in the country. Howze left that job earlier this year.

Aerial view of a river in Louisiana.
Louisiana has a new chief information officer.

Derek Williams, previously the state’s deputy CIO, has taken over the technology leadership post from longtime holder Dickie Howze.

He left the job in January as new Gov. Jeff Landry, a Republican, took office. He’d worked as CIO since 2013.

Williams is a veteran of Louisiana state government. According to his LinkedIn profile, he became deputy CIO in November 2022.

Before that, he worked as director of data center operations for the Louisiana Office of Technology Services (OTS) for eight years. Previous positions include director of the Office of Computing Services and manager at the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

Williams provided no immediate comment Tuesday afternoon. He was listed as CIO on the state’s Division of Administration website.

His appointment was revealed to OTS employees via a brief email.

“Derek has been part of OTS since its inception and many of you already know him from his time as the deputy CIO and CTO for OTS,” the email reads. “He succeeds Dickie Howze, who has stepped down after an illustrious 43 year career dedicated to state service.”

Among the main issues that Howze worked on recently was reducing the state’s technical debt. That refers to the cost of not improving systems but instead relying on aging and often clunky tools that are relatively unfamiliar to younger employees.

Howze was the second-longest serving state CIO in the country as of late 2023. Only Connecticut’s Mark Raymond could boast of a longer tenure.