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White House Picks VMware’s Tony Scott to be the Next Federal CIO

VMware

The White House has turned to an industry veteran to fill the open federal chief information officer post and help guide IT policy in the waning years of the Obama administration. 

President Barack Obama on Thursday named Tony Scott, the chief information officer at software firm VMware, his pick to be the next U.S. CIO, according to a White House announcement.

As CIO, Scott will also serve as the administrator of the White House Office of E-Government and Information Technology, where he will be responsible for managing an $84 billion -- and growing -- federal IT budget.

His appointment comes as the Obama administration has planned a slew of new federal IT initiatives for the coming year, including a strong emphasis on revamping citizen-facing digital services at agencies across government.

In the fiscal 2016 budget blueprint published this week, the White House laid out plans to embed in-house digital service teams in each federal agency.

Scott, largely seen as an outsider to the insular federal IT community, is "the right person” to continue driving results under the administration’s “smarter IT delivery agenda,” Shaun Donovan, the director of the Office of Management and Budget and his management deputy, Beth Cobert, wrote in a White House blog post Thursday. In addition to improving digital services, the agenda includes driving efficiencies in federal IT investments, and securing federal IT assets and data.

“With the radical evolution of information technology, the federal government has unprecedented opportunity to enhance how we deliver services to the American people and spark greater innovation in the digital age," Donovan and Cobert added. 

The CIO post had been officially vacant since September, when former CIO Steven VanRoekel stepped down to work on fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa for the U.S. Agency for International Development. 

VanRoekel’s deputy Lisa Schlosser had been serving as acting CIO since he decamped.

Before joining VMware in August 2013, Scott served as the CIO at Microsoft for five years. Previous stints include serving as the CIO for the Walt Disney Company and as the chief technology officer of General Motors’ information systems and services division.

All told, Scott has more than 35 years of IT management experience.

Scott is the second Microsoft alum to serve as federal CIO. His predecessor, VanRoekel, served as a senior director there for several years before joining government service.

With Scott’s appointment, the highest-ranking tech positions in the Obama administration are now filled by a triumvirate of officials with ties to Silicon Valley.

Scott will work alongside federal Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, a former Google executive who’s been on the CTO job since August.

Another colleague, Mikey Dickerson, the head of the U.S. Digital Service IT fix-it squad, is also a Google alum.

And while VMware has a strong Washington, D.C., presence and may not be thought of as the typical Silicon startup, the company was founded in Palo Alto, and its headquarters remain there today.

Federal News Radio first reported Scott's appointment. 

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