White House CIO Vivek Kundra quits

The White House on Thursday said the first-ever chief information officer of the federal government, Vivek Kundra, will leave in August after two-and-a-half years of service. No successor to Kundra has been named.

In a blog post, Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew said Kundra had “cracked down on wasteful IT spending, saved $3 billion in taxpayer dollars, moved the government to the cloud, [and] strengthened the cybersecurity posture of the nation while making it more open, transparent, and participatory.”

President Obama offered Kundra the CIO position in March 2009 with the intent of creating a more transparent federal government. At that time, Kundra said he wanted to use tools like cloud computing and use the new site www.data.gov to put “vast amounts of government data into the public domain.”

Kundra will be taking a job as a joint fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Before serving as federal CIO, Kundra was the chief technology officer for the District of Columbia.

It’s a little curious to see Kundra leave just six months after releasing a 25-point plan to reform and restructure the government’s IT management. But alas, many government officials step down during their tenure, due to behind-the-scenes disputes or simply the opportunity to earn a larger paycheck in the private sector or academia.

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