Texas CIO Karen Robinson Officially Retires

Deputy Executive Director Todd Kimbriel is now serving as the state's interim CIO.

After announcing her retirement from government internally in October 2014, former Texas CIO Karen Robinson’s departure is now official, according to a Jan. 6 statement released by the Texas Department of Information Resources. Robinson’s official retirement date was Dec. 31, capping a five-year tenure after being hired as state CIO in October 2009. Robinson will join the private sector in February 2015 to take a role as U.S. president of mobile application developer Robots and Pencils Inc.

An official press release lauds Robinson for her accomplishments, which include doubling data center consolidation from 30 percent to 60 percent, launching the enterprise’s first cloud services with Microsoft Office 365, improving customer satisfaction by a margin of 94 percent, winning 52 awards since 2010, doubling cooperative contracts purchase volume from $1 billion to $2 billion, and creating a sharing agreement with Oklahoma.

“I was entrusted with one of the most critical aspects of public service: the technology infrastructure of the state," Robinson said. "I believe we have shown that collaboration and communication are the keys for successful state IT.”

In announcing her departure in October, Robinson called her time with the department “intense and challenging,” citing the many accomplishments she and her team had achieved during her tenure. Among the state’s challenges during that time was a rocky relationship with vendor IBM, which ultimately failed to maintain the requirements of a $863 million data center contract
that Xerox eventually took over.

“Our team has established a culture of listening to the voice of the customer — our fellow state agencies in particular — to create relationships of special trust,” Robinson said. “I believe we have shown that collaboration and communication form the bedrock of success within state IT.”

Before becoming state CIO, Robinson served as director of IT at the Texas Governor’s Office for 10 years, also serving as director of administration for the final two years of that position.

A permanent replacement for Robinson has not been named, but Deputy Executive Director Todd Kimbriel
is now serving as interim CIO.

Colin wrote for Government Technology and Emergency Management from 2010 through most of 2016.