White House EOP to lose top two senior IT executives

The Executive Office of the President is losing its top two senior IT officials.

Karen Britton, the White House chief information officer for the last two years, has left her position to return to a previous private sector employer.

Federal News Radio also has confirmed Alissa Johnson, the EOP’s deputy CIO, will leave the White House.

Karen Britton (White House photo)
In an email to colleagues, obtained by Federal News Radio, Johnson said she will transition out of her role in the coming months.

Sources also confirmed Johnson hasn’t decided where to go — industry or another federal agency — but will start looking for new opportunities.

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“I am currently in a time of transition, but as I transition out of my role, this continues to be an exciting time for technology and for the government,” Johnson wrote in her email. “I look forward to seeing what is to come.”

An email to the White House asking for comment was not immediately returned.

Sources say Michael Hornsby, the EOP’s director of operations and engineering will be the acting CIO until a new one is hired. Hornsby has been with the EOP since May 2009, serving in several roles including branch chief for enterprise business solutions.

As for Britton, she now is senior vice president and chief operating officer at e-Management, a woman-owned, minority-owned, small business in Silver Spring, Maryland, which provides professional IT services and cybersecurity solutions. Britton worked for e-Management from November 2007 to July 2009 as program manager, according to her LinkedIn profile.

The company announced Britton’s hiring in a press release Tuesday.

“This career transition is also exciting for me because forward thinking small businesses like e-Management are the laboratories for innovations that improve and enhance both commercial and government organizations,” said Britton in the release. “I am thrilled to be a part of such an amazing team of IT and cyber professionals.”

In her new role, Britton will oversee the company’s work with Defense, intelligence and civilian agencies. Additionally, she will bring e-Management into the commercial sector, the company said.

Sources say Johnson’s decision to leave didn’t have anything to do with Britton moving back to industry.

Sources say Johnson has been in her position for three years and she just thought it was time for a change.

Over her career, Johnson worked for the National Security Agency, Lockheed Martin, Catapult Technologies and a few other government contractors before coming to the White House.

As the White House CIO and deputy CIO, Britton and Johnson led the effort to modernize the technology running the Executive Office of the President. She brought in the concepts of cloud, agile software development and open source.

Britton and Johnson oversaw the implementation of the back-end technology to support petitions, social media and enhanced citizen relationship management systems.

In a June 2014 blog post on the CIO.gov website, Britton wrote, “In the Executive Office of the President, we are constantly reviewing and researching new technologies in a timely manner, constantly balancing the pros of new and the cons of unproven.”

Before ascending to the CIO’s role, Britton served as deputy CIO in the White House for three years. Before that, she worked for e-Management where she supported the Energy Department’s CIO, and worked in government as deputy command information officer for the Naval Sea Systems Command.

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