Updated with VMware statements
President Barack Obama has appointed VMware CIO Tony Scott to be the next U.S. CIO -- the top federal government IT role. The position was created in 2009, and the first White House CIO was Vivek Kundra, who kicked off the current Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative and started a lot of other major efforts to overhaul the way government buys and consumes IT.
Scott has been at VMware since 2013 and until now served as senior vice president and CIO. He came to VMware after serving for five years as Microsoft CIO. Prior to that, he was CIO at Walt Disney and CTO at General Motors.
VMware issued a statement saying the company was actively looking for a new CIO and wishing Scott well in serving the country. “Tony Scott will bring to his new role strong leadership skills and a passion for success,” Jonathan Chadwick, VMware CFO, COO and executive vice president, said in a statement. “We are excited for him and the country and we thank Tony for his pioneering work at VMware.”
Ever since the position of the U.S. CIO was created and Kundra was appointed to fill it, there has been a strong push from the White House to consolidate and modernize data center and IT infrastructure of federal agencies. Besides FDCCI, which has proven to be a very difficult, protracted process, there are now mandates for agencies to evaluate commercial cloud services for their applications before they decide to host them in-house and a number of other initiatives designed to bring government IT up to modern standards.
“Over the past six years, this administration has embarked on a comprehensive approach to fundamentally improve the way government delivers results and technology services to the public,” Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Beth Cobert, deputy director for management at the White House, said in a joint statement.” Under Tony’s leadership, we will continue to build on the remarkable work done by the Nation’s first CIOs Vivek Kundra and Steve VanRoekel in changing the way the Federal government manages IT.”
FDCCI has been a difficult initiative for agencies, and the progress with identifying and shutting down unnecessary data center capacity has been slow but steady. Since FDCCI was announced, the government changed the approach from simply consolidating data center assets to “rationalizing” applications, which means identifying core applications and finding the most economical way to host them, while getting rid of all others.
Kundra left the White House in 2011 for a fellowship at Harvard and later joined Salesforce as executive vice president of emerging markets. His successor was Steve VanRoekel, who spent 15 years at Microsoft before joining the public sector as managing director of the Federal Communications Commission. He resigned from the federal CIO role abruptly in September 2014, joining the Ebola response team of the U.S. Agency for International Development as chief innovation officer. VanRoekel briefly served as executive director at USAID before being tapped for the White House position.