Federal CIO Kent to depart in July

Federal chief information officer Suzette Kent is leaving after two-plus years.

The Office of Management and Budget today announced Kent’s decision to move on from her role in July. She announced her plan to leave at an Office of the Federal CIO team meeting today.

Suzette Kent, the federal chief information officer, announced she is leaving in July after two-plus years.

“My commitment was to give 100% to improving government technology and citizen services. It is my hope that the outcomes achieved stand in evidence to that commitment,” Kent said in a statement. “It is with great pride in results delivered and confidence in [Deputy Federal CIO] Maria Roat, [Federal Chief Information Security Officer] Grant Schneider, and [OFCIO Chief of Staff] Jordan Burris’ leadership, the OFCIO team, and the leaders in the CIO Council that I depart. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve our nation.”

Kent joined the Trump administration as federal CIO in January 2018, coming from a career in the private sector. Before her government position she worked at Ernst & Young where she had been a principal in the financial services office for the previous two-plus years. She also has worked for JP Morgan Chase and Accenture in the financial services sector.

Her decision comes just six weeks after Maria Roat joined as the deputy federal CIO. Roat came over to that role after serving almost four years as the CIO at the Small Business Administration.

Kent’s decision to leave is surprising. Many times during the fourth year of an administration, political appointees are asked to either leave before January or stay on through the next election.

But with Roat, Schneider and others in place, Kent likely felt the time was right to move on for personal reasons.

During her tenure as federal CIO, Kent’s accomplishments fall into two buckets: Cleaning up old policies that were no longer needed, redundant or hampered IT modernization; and spearheading specific initiatives to create a continuous improvement path such as digital transformation, empowering agency CIOs and addressing IT workforce training challenges.

“I want to thank Suzette for all of her work on behalf of the President. During her time at the White House she’s had a remarkable impact on agencies’ operations, helping to drive critical modernizations through the President’s Management Agenda,” said OMB Acting Director Russ Vought in a statement. “On behalf of the entire Office of Management and Budget, I want to express my deepest gratitude for Suzette and wish her all the best in this next chapter.”