Office of American Innovation Leader Takes New Job

Alex Brandon/AP

Chris Liddell is the latest in staff changes at the tech-focused office.

One of the Office of American Innovation leaders is taking a new role within the White House.

Chris Liddell, a former Microsoft executive, will work under White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as deputy chief of staff for policy coordination and with Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Joe Hagin, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

“He has extensive experience managing large organizations and has already overseen a number of interagency processes in the White House,” Sanders said.

Liddell will continue to work with the Office of American Innovation, helped in part by others in the office including Matt Lira, special assistant to the president for innovation, policy and initiatives, a White House spokesperson told Nextgov.

The president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner continues to lead the small office, which has seen other personnel changes. Brooke Rollins recently replaced Reed Cordish, assistant for intragovernmental and technology initiatives, and Josh Raffel, director of communications, will leave in the coming months.

As White House director of strategic initiatives, Liddell was one of the more visible members of the tech-focused office and as the director of the American Technology Council, he co-authored the Federal IT Modernization Report.

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, called Liddell and other OAI officials’ work on the Modernization Government Technology Act an “invaluable” part of the process. Now that MGT Act is law, the Office of Management and Budget issued guidelines for how agencies can apply to the Technology Modernization Fund and its board announced how it would manage the fund.

OMB Deputy Director of Management Margaret Weichert last week testified to Congress that the agency and recently appointed federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent are ready to take the reins from OAI on IT issues.

“We continue to work very closely with OAI in terms of helping shape the strategy and bring to bear the best thinking of the administration and also marshal resources outside of government to provide insights that might be helpful in our journey,” Weichert said. “But we at OMB are really leading the direction with the president’s management agenda and bringing the executive branch along.”