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Philadelphia Appoints a Familiar City Face as CISO

Damian Oravez takes over as chief information security officer after working a similar position at Philadelphia International Airport for four years. The move comes after the city appointed an interim CIO in June.

Philadelphia City Hall.
Philadelphia has a new CISO, just weeks after the country’s sixth-largest city named an interim chief information officer.

Damian Oravez has taken over as Philadelphia’s chief information security officer, working as part of the city’s Office of Innovation and Technology.

"We did do a wide search, he applied, and we judged him to be the strongest candidate," said Andrew Buss, deputy CIO, via email. "His experience with security governance matched well with the city’s needs and also with the federal NIST framework for cybersecurity which we follow."

Oravez did not respond to a request for comment.

He was the CISO for Philadelphia International Airport for about four years prior to taking this new job. He previously held information security positions at financial services consulting firm Ascensus, business consultancy Protiviti and Sun National Bank.

Oravez takes over a job last held by Ketan Shah, appointed in late 2021, and the first person to hold the city’s CISO post full time since 2018. Shah came directly from the private sector. According to Buss, Shah left "because of family obligations."

In June, officials announced that CIO Mark Wheeler was departing from a job he had held since 2018. During his time as chief information officer, the city’s tech professionals released the SmartCityPHL Roadmap, Philadelphia’s IT strategic plan and its first-ever digital equity plan.

The interim CIO job then went to Sandra Carter, the city’s chief operating officer, who also had experience as Philadelphia’s deputy CIO.