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Federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra to step down

This story has been updated.

The first-ever U.S. chief technology officer, Aneesh Chopra, is leaving the government in early February, White House officials announced Friday.

"As the federal government's first chief technology officer, Aneesh Chopra did groundbreaking work to bring our government into the 21st century," President Obama said in a statement.

Chopra served as the White House's ambassador to the commercial technology sector, working to stimulate entrepreneurialism in areas such as health information technology, green IT and nanotechnology. He also collaborated with first-ever federal chief information officer Vivek Kundra, who departed last summer, on IT initiatives aimed at transforming government operations through proven, private sector innovations -- like mobile apps and prize contests.

"Aneesh found countless ways to engage the American people using technology, from electronic health records for veterans, to expanding access to broadband for rural communities, to modernizing government records," Obama stated. "His legacy of leadership and innovation will benefit Americans for years to come, and I thank him for his outstanding service."

Chopra had Obama's ear in his dual capacity as an assistant to the president and a Senate-confirmed associate director at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. He had been serving as the technology secretary for the commonwealth of Virginia when tapped for the White House gig in the spring of 2009. He previously was a managing director for the health care consultancy Advisory Board Co., which was founded by David Bradley, who owns Atlantic Media Co., publisher of Nextgov.

Christopher Padilla, Vice President of Governmental Programs at IBM, said Chopra championed government adoption of open standards-based health IT and smart grid technologies. "The recent policy on private sector-led standardization is but one of his many accomplishments to foster industry-led innovation and economic growth," Padilla said in a statement.

In a Tweet Friday, Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel said, "Honor to work alongside CTO @aneeshchopra for the last six months. Will miss his passion, his drive, leadership and friendship."

White House officials said Chopra's official last day would be Feb. 8. No word was given on his plans for the future.

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