Chrousos to depart as head of GSA's Technology Transformation Service

Hot on the heels of a reorganization that elevated 18F to a key service inside GSA, TTS Commissioner Phaedra Chrousos is planning a July exit from the agency.

LinkedIn profile image for Phaedra Chrousos.

Phaedra Chrousos, commissioner of GSA's Technology Transformation Service, is stepping down in July.

Only a couple of months after taking the helm of the newly formed Technology Transformation Service, Phaedra Chrousos is set to leave the organization in mid-July.

GSA CIO David Shive will step in as acting commissioner, according to a June 23 blog post by GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth.

Garren Givens, director of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program, is also leaving. A GSA spokesperson told FCW that Givens' last day will be July 5.

Chrousos told FCW that GSA had started the process of identifying the next TTS commissioner a month ago. She plans to take a month or so of maternity leave before returning to the private sector but declined to be more specific about her next move.

"My natural habitat is the private sector," she said. "I had never planned to stay [in government]. I thought I'd be here six months."

She added that it had been an intense year of building the institutional framework for the entities that were brought together as the Technology Transformation Service: 18F, the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, and the Presidential Innovation Fellows program.

"We built Version 1.0," she said. "Now it's time to move to 2.0."

Chrousos became TTS commissioner in May, shifting from her role as associate administrator of the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies and 18F. At the time, GSA said the new entity was in the same mold as the Federal Acquisition Service and the Public Buildings Service -- the agency's two organizational pillars.

A former GSA executive, who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly, told FCW that Shive was a solid pick as a replacement. "David's got a lot of management experience" in both government and the private sector and has been at GSA long enough that "he understands the culture and how to get things done."

With the end of the Obama administration looming, the executive added, "career people have been thinking about [the transition] and getting ready to serve in an acting capacity for several months now.... In truth, the time between the political appointees of two administrations offers an opportunity" to focus on operational matters that might not offer political wins but are important to an agency's health and effectiveness.

The news comes just a few weeks after a Capitol Hill hearing that involved a discussion of an oversight report critical of 18F's finances.

Still, the former GSA official cautioned against reading too much into Chrousos' departure. The recent shuffles that created TTS might or might not have staying power, but "the future of that organization will be decided by people much higher in the political ranks than are being affected by this change."

In her blog post, Roth said the agency is searching for a "startup entrepreneur" in the public or private sector who has experience building companies in industries that are being disrupted, as Chrousos did before she joined GSA in June 2014.

In his acting role, Shive will team with 18F Executive Director Aaron Snow, who started as a Presidential Innovation Fellow and was a founding member of 18F.