GSA names new head of Technology Transformation Service

The General Services Administration hired Anil Cheriyan, the former SunTrust Bank chief information officer, to run the Technology Transformation Service.

GSA announced today Cheriyan will join the agency in January where he also will be deputy commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service. He replaces Joanne Collins Smee, who resigned in August after less than a year. Kelly Olson, the chief of staff at TTS since March, has been acting TTS director and deputy commissioner of FAS since Collins Smee left.

Anil Cheriyan, the former SunTrust Bank chief information officer, to run GSA’s Technology Transformation Service.

“His previous success transforming how businesses leverage technology to better serve customers will be a major asset in helping the federal government improve its service to the American people,” GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said in a release.

Cheriyan left SunTrust in April after six years. In a Forbes interview from April, he said he transformed the bank’s IT organization to make it better aligned with the business side. He said he focused on things like cost transparency, strategic investments and bringing in new vendors.

“There was a major transformation that needed to take place, along with building out real business, aligning talent, and driving operations within each of the business segments. Also, creating a data officer role and a digital officer role was a focus,” he said in the Forbes interview.

It was those results and his time with PwC and IBM that attracted the administration, said Jared Kushner, senior advisor to the President said in a statement.

In his role as TTS director, Cheriyan will pick up where Collins Smee left off by leading the Centers of Excellence effort, which the Department of Agriculture and Department of Housing and Urban Development are using to modernize their technology infrastructures.

Additionally, Cheriyan will oversee GSA’s efforts to help agencies build, buy and share technology through 18F, the Office of Products and Programs and Presidential Innovation Fellows initiatives.

Cheriyan earned his Master of Science and Master of Philosophy Degrees in Management as well as a Bachelor of Science in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from Imperial College in London, UK.

“I have no doubt his impressive background and experience will help build on the successes and positive outcomes delivered by the TTS organization,” Murphy wrote in the internal email to GSA staff, which Federal News Network obtained. “I also want to thank Kelly Olson for her tremendous efforts as Acting TTS Director over the past several months. Kelly and her team have ensured that TTS’s foundational work moved forward and continued seamlessly. I am pleased she will be returning to her previous role.”

GSA established TTS as a third, individual service in 2016 but the Trump administration reorganized the service in June 2017.

Over the last two years, TTS has spent most of its time focusing on IT modernization efforts, whether through the CoEs or by 18F providing help to agencies on specific projects or taking on governmentwide challenges.