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Rhode Island CISO Brian Tardiff Will Take Over as CIO, CDO

Brian Tardiff has been tapped as the permanent replacement for Bijay Kumar, who left the CIO and chief digital officer post in September 2022. He comes with experience as state IT department chief of staff and CISO.

Rhode Island announced today that CISO Brian Tardiff is the new CIO and chief digital officer (CDO), ending a nationwide search. Former CIO and CDO Bijay Kumar left office in September 2022.

“Our decision to hire Brian marks the culmination of a national job search that included interviews with eight semifinalists and, subsequently, three finalists,” said Director of Administration James E. Thorsen in a press release.

In his new role, Tardiff will manage a 200-person team of “professional, technical and support staff,” per the release. He’s charged with overseeing implementation and upgrades of all the state’s technology infrastructure projects, “with the goal of increasing government accountability and efficiency,” and his team will serve the technology needs of the state’s roughly 13,000 employees.

Tardiff brings IT infrastructure and cybersecurity expertise to the job, and has served in the Division of IT since 2018. That includes time as chief of staff, where he guided $13 million worth of CARES Act-supported technology projects.

His work as CISO also left a mark, with Ernst and Young finding that “he was able to reduce the cyber risk for all [Rhode Island] state agencies by 20 percent over a three-year period,” per the state press release.

“Brian’s proven record of successful IT expertise and project management made him the most qualified for this important role,” Thorsen said. “We are very excited to have his leadership for the division.”

When Kumar left office last year, he told Government Technology that he left it in good hands.

“Rhode Island has the highest performing team in its history, and an amazing leadership team,” Kumar said. “[When] I look at leaving, the impact will be minimal, because we have an IT strategy, which is public; we have advanced processes; and we have a good extended leadership team.“
Jule Pattison-Gordon is a senior staff writer for Government Technology. She previously wrote for PYMNTS and The Bay State Banner, and holds a B.A. in creative writing from Carnegie Mellon. She’s based outside Boston.