Updated: California deputy state CIO resigns

CORRECTION: This story had been updated to reflect Amy Tong’s status as California state chief information officer.  

Chris Cruz, long a mainstay in California IT ranks and current deputy state chief information officer, is leaving for the top IT job in San Joaquin County. Cruz is the first major change in state IT leadership following the election of Governor Gavin Newsom last November.

Cruz has a long record with over 20 years of state service, much of it in IT leadership positions at the California Department of Technology, the California Department of Health Care Services and at the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

His career trajectory implied an only slightly concealed ambition for the top spot, California state CIO; however, that was to not be in Governor Newsom’s plans for the position. Whether Cruz’s departure portends other changes, including one for current state CIO Amy Tong, remains to be seen.

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From 2007-2010, Cruz successfully implemented enterprise IT reorganization efforts, consolidated under one domain, developed and administered new technologies, automated IT governance policies and processes, and developed an enterprise architecture plan that led to more efficient practices for IT projects.

In his position at CDT, he provided co-executive leadership for nearly 1000 staff, managed executive level governance, provided oversight to 134 CIOs within the executive branch, oversaw an operating budget of $300 million and had co-statutory responsibility for California’s $3 billion IT project portfolio. He also had co-responsibility for setting the state’s strategic policy direction for IT and for developing the IT Strategic Plan.

Mr. Cruz was recently recognized by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) as the 2018 State Technology Innovator of the Year; he also was chosen as one of State Scoop’s 2016 Top 50 National State Government Leaders; received the 2015 Nation’s top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers Award by Government Technology magazine; the 2013 Best of California Demonstrated Leadership in Management of IT Award; the 2011 Outstanding CIO Leader Award, the 2010 Innovation and Vision Award, and the Center for Digital Government’s 2009 Outstanding CIO Leader of the Year Award.

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