HHS transfers CIO to new role

Beth Killoran becomes the fourth agency CIO to be reassigned under the Trump administration. Ed Simcox, the HHS chief technology officer, is taking over as acti...

Beth Killoran is out as the Department of Health and Human Services chief information officer.

Multiple sources say HHS leadership told the Office of the CIO Monday that Killoran would be relieved of her duties.

Beth Killoran has joined the Office of the Surgeon General at HHS after spending the last two years as the CIO.

Ed Simcox, the HHS chief technology officer, will take over as acting CIO until a permanent one was named.

Killoran declined to comment on her status in an email to Federal News Radio.

An HHS official confirmed Killoran will take a new role at the agency.

“Beth Killoran has joined the Office of the Surgeon General at HHS to develop a comprehensive information systems strategic plan for the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps,” the official said.

The official also confirmed Simcox would be acting CIO.

“Simcox has led multiple, large IT transformation efforts, both as an industry executive and consultant,” the official said. “As HHS’ CTO, he leads HHS’ efforts on enterprise data management, data sharing, technology-related healthcare innovation and public-private partnerships.”

Simcox started as the HHS CTO in July after serving as acting CTO starting in May and deputy CTO since July 2017.

Killoran became HHS CIO in July 2016 and came to HHS in October 2014 from the Homeland Security Department. In addition to CIO, Killoran also served as the acting deputy CIO and executive director for the Office of IT Strategy, Policy and Governance.

During her time as HHS CIO, Killoran tried to move the agency forward in a number of areas through an updated strategic plan and a more aggressive approach to cloud adoption.

Recently, Killoran led a reorganization of the CIO’s office, naming Todd Simpson as the first chief product officer and promoting innovation.

One HHS IT executive, who requested anonymity because they didn’t get permission to talk to the press, called Killoran’s reassignment sad.

“She had a great understanding of what we actually do in the OPDIVs and the uniqueness that makes IT so ‘interesting’ for us,” the executive said.

Killoran also struggled at times because she didn’t answer directly to the secretary or deputy secretary, according to the May 2018 Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard.

Overall, she led HHS to a “C-” overall grade, up from a “D-” in November.

The scorecard further detailed several areas where Killoran made progress, including moving 99 percent of all software projects to an agile or iterative approach, and rating the risk of 93 percent of her major IT investments totaling $2.8 billion.

Killoran becomes the fourth major agency CIO to be reassigned during the Trump administration, joining former Treasury Department CIO Sonny Bhagowalia, former Agriculture Department CIO Jonathan Alboum and FEMA CIO Adrian Gardner.

All of these CIOs were members of the Senior Executive Service meaning agency leaders have the right to reassign them at will.

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