Microsoft Has Hired Five Government CIOs in Four Months

The company is following in the footsteps of Amazon Web Services, which went on a similar hiring spree last year. Microsoft has picked up four former state CIOs and one city CIO to fill various roles.

Microsoft logo on the outside of a building.
Following in the footsteps of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft has spent the last several months hiring former state and local government CIOs.

The tech giant has hired at least five such people since September:

  • Delaware CIO James Collins announced in September he was joining Microsoft as a general manager with a focus on state and local government as well as higher education.
  • Stephen Elkins, who served as CIO for the city of Austin, Texas, for 10 years, left his job the same month. According to his LinkedIn profile, he joined Microsoft as a client director.
  • Kirk Lonbom, who retired as Illinois CIO in 2018, joined the company in November as director of public safety and justice strategy for state and local government.
  • Former Arkansas CIO Yessica Jones signed on in December as a delivery management manager for Microsoft Consulting Services with a focus on state and local government and education.
  • Jeremy Goldberg, who served as acting CIO for the state of New York for about a year, became a part of Microsoft’s Worldwide Public Sector group in January.
Microsoft representatives declined to comment on the hiring spree. In a recent interview with Government Technology, Goldberg said he would be focusing on digital government and critical infrastructure, hoping to push the public sector toward transforming its IT systems.

The hires come after Amazon Web Services scooped up four former state CIOs, including three in 2020.

It’s common for state CIOs to leave their posts for jobs in the private sector; in 2019, Government Technology examined CIO careers and found that about half went to private companies after stepping down from their government posts. But their destinations are very diverse, including IT firms like Microsoft as well as finance, consulting and many other fields.

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.
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