Trump Nominates Federal CIO

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The president announced his choice to lead IT policy for the entire federal government.

Filling a position that has sat vacant for a year, the Trump administration has nominated a new permanent federal CIO: Suzette Kent, currently a principal with global accounting firm Ernst & Young’s financial services practice.

The White House announced Jan. 26 the president’s intention to nominate Kent as the next administrator of the Office of Electronic Government within the Office of Management and Budget, a role most have come to know as the federal CIO. The position is charged with setting IT management policy for the entire federal government, including overseeing cybersecurity policy through the currently vacant federal chief information security officer.

Kent will be the fourth federal CIO, taking over for Tony Scott, who retired from the role at the end of the Obama administration. Since Scott’s retirement, his deputy, Margie Graves, has been filling in as acting federal CIO. Scott succeeded Steven VanRoekel, who was the second federal CIO after Vivek Kundra, who was appointed by Obama in 2009.

“As a citizen, I care passionately about the transformation agenda that is outlined in the technology modernization agenda, and I am honored to be allowed to serve our country through leveraging the skills, experiences and relationships that I have developed over my career,” Kent said in a statement to Nextgov. “The exciting part is that this mandate includes many of the same industrialization objectives, software solutions and transformation protocols that I have been working on for private sector clients and which will be a priority in the CIO role.”

Kent has been with Ernst & Young since late 2015, according to her LinkedIn profile, with stints at JPMorgan, Carreker Corporation and Accenture before that. Her 27-year career has been focused on financial and payment services.

She earned a bachelor of arts in advertising and marketing at Louisiana State University.

“Suzette’s diversity of skills and knowledge, coupled with her more than 27 years of financial services client experience in commercial and retail banking and treasury in North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia, make her an outstanding choice for the next White House federal CIO,” said Anthony Caterino, vice chair at Ernst & Young and regional managing partner for the financial services organization. “Having blazed a trail for women within the EY organization, I am confident in the incredible impact she will make as she transforms and industrializes government systems.”

“Although technology change has been at the core of her professional career, retooling the workforce and creating new opportunities for people has been an essential element of efforts that she has led,” the White House said in a statement announcing the nomination. “She has served as an enterprise leader for organizational learning, diversity and inclusiveness, and career development at every organization in which she has worked.”

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include comments from Kent and Ernst & Young.

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