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White House taps VanRoekel to replace Kundra as federal CIO

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Steven VanRoekel will replace Vivek Kundra as the Office of Management and Budget's administrator for e-government and information technology, says an Aug. 4 report in the New York Times. Kundra steps down from his position as federal chief information officer this month to pursue a Harvard fellowship.

VanRoekel is leaving a position as executive director for citizen and organizational engagement at USAID, a job he held for less than two months. Prior to USAID he was managing director at the Federal Communications Commission where he handled agency operations with a focus on technology and new media.

Before his work at FCC, VanRoekel spent over 18 years at Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT)--most recently as an executive in the Redmond, Wash. company's Windows Server and Tools division.

VanRoekel led the recent relaunch of FCC.gov. The new FCC website has received mixed reviews, but agency representatives have maintained that the website launched "explicitly and very proudly in beta." In a June 2 interview with The Hill, VanRoekel acknowledged that the FCC redesign has been poorly received by lawyers and regulatory personnel.

While VanRoekel has a great deal of management experience and has established himself as a technologist, he has never acted as an agency CIO or served on the Federal CIO Council. Prior to his appointment to federal CIO, Kundra was the chief technology officer for the District of Columbia. Kundra's predecessor, Karen Evans, was CIO of the Energy Department before her appointment at OMB.

In his new role, VanRoekel will be at the helm of the federal government's IT budget, which is  more than $80 billion a year, and manage marquee technology initiatives such as data center consolidation and "cloud first."

Open government projects, such as Kundra's Data.gov, will likely continue to be a focus for OMB. "Everything should be an API," VanRoekel told O'Reilly Radar following the FCC.gov "reboot" in April.

"When citizens care, they should be able to give government feedback, and government should be able to take action. We want to enable better feedback loops to enable that to happen," he added.

The White House announced VanRoekel's appointment the morning of Aug. 4. Prior to the White House statement that day, VanRoekel updated his Twitter bio to reflect the new position. "United States Chief Information Officer @ Executive Office of the President. http://www.whitehouse.gov," said the bio for @stevenvDC.

As of 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 4, @VivekKundra's Twitter bio still said, "United States Chief Information Officer @ Executive Office of the President. http://www.whitehouse.gov."

For more:
- see the White House announcement
- see the New York Times article

Related Articles:
White House: Vivek Kundra to step down in August 
Beta: The future of government websites 
Spotlight: FCC's Van Dyck joins VanRoekel at USAID 
Kundra: My naivety was an asset