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Mississippi CIO, Who Led Through the Pandemic, Will Retire

David Johnson, a veteran state staffer who became executive director of the Department of Information Technology Services in November 2020, will retire in June. A search for his replacement is underway.

Aerial view of Mississippi's capitol building.
Shutterstock/Sean Pavone
Mississippi CIO David Johnson, the executive director of the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services (ITS) who took over for one of the nation's longest-serving state technology leaders, will retire next month.

Johnson’s final day will be June 30, ITS said in a statement. The state has retained Kinetic Staffing LLC to conduct the search for a permanent CIO and executive director, which is already underway. Its target completion date is July 1, the company said on LinkedIn.

The candidate ultimately selected will be expected to lead the transformation of government service delivery and implementation of statewide communications networks and data solutions, Kinetic said in recruitment materials. He or she will also be expected to represent ITS in legislative and regulatory matters related to technology.

In the statement announcing his retirement, ITS credited Johnson for taking on “the monumental task” of leading the state’s technological advancements throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and for the successful implementation of cloud-based solutions and cybersecurity measures. Other noteworthy projects during Johnson’s tenure include the reworking of ITS’ website and the launch of a state chatbot named Missi.

Johnson replaced one of the country’s longest serving state CIOs, Craig Orgeron, who had been in place for about nine years. In 28 years at the state, Johnson was a “driving force” on many projects, ITS said, highlighting a career that spanned from his early days at the Mississippi Department of Employment Services to his elevation to CIO in November 2020. Johnson spent 18 years at ITS, according to LinkedIn, including nearly 13 as internal services director. He then spent nearly three years as procurement services director before being named CIO and executive director.

“His departure marks the end of an era and prompts a moment of reflection on the significant impact and lasting legacy he leaves behind,” the statement said.

A spokesperson from ITS did not respond to a request for comment.