Energy gets new CIO, loses CHCO to retirement

Secretary Steven Chu announced several leadership changes, including naming Robert Brese as the department's new chief information officer.

The Energy Department hired a familiar face to be its new chief information officer. Robert Brese, the acting CIO since Mike Locatis left in April to be the assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications at the Homeland Security Department, received the nod to be the permanent CIO from Secretary Steven Chu.

As Brese takes over, Energy is losing its chief human capital officer. Mike Kane will retire after more than 30 years in federal service.

Robert Brese, new Energy CIO (
Chu announced these and other personnel changes in an email to staff Monday.

Brese officially loses the acting title July 1. He has been deputy CIO since December 2010.

Before that, he served as the deputy CIO for IT at the National Nuclear Security Administration for about three years and as NNSA’s director of security program evaluation for defense nuclear security.

He served for 22 years as a Naval officer before retiring in 2006 as a commander.

Kane leaves Energy after spending his entire career in the government. Deputy CHCO Sarah Bonilla will become acting CHCO in the interim.

“Sarah brings a wealth of experience in human resources management through her experience both at DOE and at the Department of the Air Force,” Chu wrote in his email. “Mike has been invaluable to the Department in selecting, developing, training and managing a highly skilled, productive and diverse workforce in accordance with statutory requirements.”

Kane received the 2011 CHCO of the Year award for his effort to reduce the hiring time across the department. Through his leadership, Energy reduced the time to hire to 100 days in 2011 from 175 days in 2009. The department’s goal is 80 days by 2013.

Along with those two moves, Energy’s deputy CFO Owen Barwell left government to become the director of Grant Thornton’s Public Sector in May. Chu said Barwell has been temporarily replaced by Joanne Choi, who previously served as the director of finance and accounting within the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

“In every leadership transition, there is an opportunity to celebrate the impressive accomplishments of departing members of the team,” Chu wrote. “While we will miss their leadership, we are fortunate to have talented and experienced individuals to assume their responsibilities as they move on.”


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