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Rob Lloyd Leaving San Jose to Become CTO in Seattle

The deputy city manager, who previously served as CIO for more than five years, will leave the Silicon Valley to become chief technology officer and head the Information Technology Department in Seattle, Wash.

The Seattle, Washington waterfront skyline, Space Needle visible, on a sunny day.
Rob Lloyd, a deputy city manager for San Jose and, before that, its longtime technology leader, is departing the Silicon Valley for a new tech position in Seattle.
Rob Lloyd.
Lloyd, whose areas of responsibility at San Jose most recently included its transportation and aviation city service area; the technology and cybersecurity portfolio; and the planning and permitting focus area, will become Seattle’s next next interim chief technology officer (CTO) and director of its Information Technology Department. (Lloyd’s employment with the city will carry the “interim” status until his hiring is approved by the Seattle City Council, according to city personnel policy.)

“My time in San Jose has been a gift,” Lloyd said in an email to Government Technology, followed by praise for all of those in city government with whom he has worked — including city managers Jennifer Maguire, Dave Sykes, and Norberto Dueñas; mayors Matt Mahan and Sam Liccardo; and the City Council.

Lloyd described his decision to pursue and accept the CTO position in Seattle as “a combination of a family move and a professional opportunity.”

“The [Bruce] Harrell administration defined challenges that aligned with work and partnerships that are impactful and meaningful to me,” Lloyd said. “On the personal side, we’ll be moving close to my wife’s parents. My family is excited to make the move and to be together.”

Jim Loter has been the interim CTO in Seattle for the past three years. He will remain on staff, the city confirmed.

“Rob is a well-known and well-respected leader in his field, and I believe his knowledge, experience, and commitment to public service will help him succeed in a role that is connected to everything we do as a city,” Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said Thursday in a statement. “I want to thank Jim Loter for his exemplary and long-standing work for the city, both as interim CTO the past three years and across many roles for years before that.”

San Jose will begin the recruitment process for a new deputy city manager in the coming weeks, Maguire said.

“We have had the pleasure of working with Rob Lloyd for the past eight years and greatly value his contributions,” she said via email. “Our heartfelt congratulations to him on his new and exciting role as the city of Seattle’s chief technology officer. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Lloyd will begin his new role in Seattle on June 24. He has been serving San Jose, the nation’s 10th largest city and center of the Silicon Valley tech ecosystem, since June 2016, when he joined as CIO.

“It is a privilege to join the city of Seattle and the Seattle community,” Lloyd said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to working with our teams and partners to make a difference in that mission.”

The One Seattle Initiative, a signature policy direction put forward by Harrell to address issues like safety, partnerships and technology, is an area Lloyd said he is ready to work on, as it “directly takes on the biggest challenges of cities today. It calls on the use of technology, innovation, and data to achieve better and more equitable outcomes for residents.”

During his time in San Jose — working in concert with leaders like former Mayor Sam Liccardo, former Chief Innovation Officer Shireen Santosham, Director of the Office of Civic Innovation Dolan Beckel and others — Lloyd was a guiding force toward advancing innovations, modernizing legacy systems and leading in areas like privacy, artificial intelligence and equity.

“From rebuilding the IT Department and our awards as the nation’s top digital city, to establishing the city’s cybersecurity and privacy programs that now safeguard city operations, we set high standards and had fun,” Lloyd reflected.

As with many cities, the COVID-19 pandemic hastened the adoption of numerous technologies in San Jose, some of it already eyed, then fast-tracked.

“I was privileged to co-lead COVID-19 logistics through the pandemic with our public works and emergency management crews that protected lives and livelihoods,” Lloyd said. “We set innovative partnerships with world-leading companies and nonprofits.”

Lloyd helped to advance initiatives like the San Jose Digital Inclusion Fund, a program launched about five years ago that is set to generate some $24 million over 10 years. The funding helps to provide access to devices, digital literacy skills and Internet access for homes that are not connected to the Internet. The city would go on to create “a pioneering Digital Inclusion program with the East Side Union High School District and the Mayor’s Office that now serves over 160,000 people,” Lloyd said.

Prior to his time in San Jose, Lloyd headed up the Department of Information Technology in Avondale, Ariz., where, in 2015 he was first named one of Government Technology’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers. In 2020, Lloyd, along with Liccardo, Beckel, Santosham and Deputy City Manager Kip Harkness, were named Doers, Dreamers and Drivers as part of Team San Jose. Lloyd served as CIO for Ashland, Ore., before joining Avondale.
Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Yreka, Calif.