USDA, GSA put out ‘help wanted’ signs for new CIOs

The shuffle of agency chief information officers continues. Two more are out the door — one at the Agriculture Department and another at the General Services Administration.

Sonny Hashmi, GSA’s CIO since January 2014, confirmed to Federal News Radio that he is leaving government for the private sector.

“Yes. Sorry to say it’s true,” Hashmi wrote in an email to Federal News Radio. “[I] ran into a great opportunity. [I will] transition [in] early April. [I’m] working through some PR issues. [I] will announce role/company in about a week.”

Hashmi took over for Casey Coleman last year after she left GSA to join AT&T Government Solutions. Over the last year, Hashmi has risen out of Coleman’s shadow with several new initiatives.

In July, Hashmi said GSA will look to open source and open data solutions first and foremost. He also is leading the effort to create a concept called “GSA Labs” that will give employees a safe environment to experiment with technology, to build code and do other innovative things.

Additionally, Hashmi pushed the agency toward widespread use of virtual desktop interfaces (VDI) as a path for employees eventually to use their personal devices on GSA’s network infrastructure.

Hashmi’s decision to leave government after just four years is a bit surprising. He came to GSA from the Washington, D.C., government in January 2011 and immediately found a comfort zone with speaking in the federal IT community and helping with GSA’s ongoing modernization.

GSA’s current Deputy CIO, David Shive, will step into the role as acting CIO.

“David has been a leading figure in almost every key GSA IT initiative and transformation for more than two years,” GSA Acting Administrator Denise Turner Roth said, in a statement. “His technology acumen and knowledge of GSA’s business needs makes him the best choice for Acting CIO. GSA has had a history of strong technology leadership in this position and I look forward to working with him to continue to build on our legacy of IT excellence.”

GovLoop’s DorobekInsider first reported Hashmi’s decision to leave government.

Along with Hashmi, Cheryl Cook retired from USDA earlier this month. An email to Cook bounced back with the message, “I no longer work at USDA. Please contact the Acting CIO Joyce Hunter … for any CIO-related questions.”

Cook served as USDA CIO for almost three years and has been with the Obama administration as a political appointee since March 2009.

Cook had been rumored to be on the move for the last few months. She became one of the longest serving CIOs as the departures across the federal community rose over the last year.

Cook, who lives in Pennsylvania and would commute 2-3 hours a day into Washington, brought a no-nonsense approach to the agency. She focused on modernizing the agency’s governance over IT programs and consolidate its systems and applications across the network.

Cook also was a big supporter of shared services, implementing a single help desk and was heading down a similar path for one virtual private network.

Cook’s departure from USDA means the agency lost its top two senior IT officials over the last few weeks. Charles McClam retired after spending the last 38 years in government and the deputy CIO since 2009.

FedScoop first reported Cook’s departure from USDA.


GSA CIO calls for open source to be considered first

For GSA, virtual desktop opens the door to more costs savings

CIOs on the move: High rate of senior IT executive departures in 2014 cuts both ways

USDA expands its IT tent in an effort to consolidate systems

Helpdesk award continues USDA’s trek toward more shared services


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