Federal CIO Suzette Kent Tells Staff She’s Retiring

Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

The government’s top IT leader is leaving government in July.

After two and a half years leading the federal government’s IT efforts, Suzette Kent told staff Thursday she plans to leave the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer come July.

Kent is the fourth person to serve as the permanent Federal CIO since the moniker was bestowed on the leader of the Office of Management and Budget's Office of E-Government in 2009. Prior to joining government service in January 2018, Kent was a principal with global accounting firm Ernst & Young’s financial services practice, with a focus on payroll services and technology.

During her time at OMB, Kent led an ambitious policy overhaul that saw substantive updates to the government’s central IT tenets. Over the last two and a half years, OFCIO has updated more than half a dozen policies, chief among them:

The office also released the first comprehensive, governmentwide Federal Data Strategy, accompanied by a One-Year Action Plan.

Her tenure also saw dramatic changes to the federal workforce, including the shift to mass telework to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an effort to meet some of these challenges, Kent and her office established the Federal Reskilling Academy, with the goal of teaching career federal employees new IT and cybersecurity skills to help fill the workforce gaps. That program was tripped up by the rigid federal employment hierarchy of the General Schedule, though leaders across government are working to get over those hurdles.

“My commitment was to give 100% to improving government technology and citizen services. It is my hope that the outcomes achieved stand in evidence to that commitment,” Kent said in a statement Thursday. “It is with great pride in results delivered and confidence in Maria Roat, Grant Schneider, and Jordan Burris' leadership, the OFCIO team, and the leaders in the CIO Council that I depart. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve our nation.”

Kent announced her intention to retire from government service in July during a team meeting with OFCIO staff Thursday. It was not clear what her last day will be.

It was also not immediately clear who would take over when Kent leaves. However, Maria Roat, formerly CIO for the Small Business Administration, was named deputy federal CIO in May and is the most likely candidate to take over in an acting capacity until a permanent leader is named.

“I want to thank Suzette for all of her work on behalf of the president,” acting OMB Director Russell Vought said. “During her time at the White House she’s had a remarkable impact on agencies operations, helping to drive critical modernizations through the President’s Management Agenda. On behalf of the entire Office of Management and Budget, I want to express my deepest gratitude for Suzette and wish her all the best in this next chapter.”

Read More: Kent recently sat with Government Executive Media Group Editor-in-Chief Tom Shoop.