Bill Gates' speech aide named US Govt CIO

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Redmond veteran to tackle low-productivity public sector.

US President Barack Obama has named former Microsoft executive Steven VanRoekel as the second US Government chief information officer, replacing Vivek Kundra.

The 41 year-old VanRoekel will take up the post after a brief stint as the executive director for international development agency, USAID, the White House announced Thursday

Until earlier this year, VanRoekel had also acted as managing director for the Federal Communications Commission, where he had led adoption of open source software and an overhaul of the agency's website.

Prior to 2009, he was a senior director for Microsoft’s Windows Server and Tools Division and had spent three years as Bill Gates' “speech and strategy” assistant, according to his LinkedIn profile

The Office of Management and Budget director Jack Lew credited Kundra, the first US government CIO, with helping cut IT costs and wastage for the cash-strapped government. 

The OBM viewed IT as a key reason for the productivity gap between public and private sectors, according to a New York Times report on VanRoekel's appointment

The US Federal Government has announced a massive data centre consolidation project and is supporting the uptake of cloud computing in government with projects such as the apps.gov website aimed at streamlining purchasing.

Coming into the role, VanRoekel would likely have to deal with potential cuts to IT expenditure as the Government begins cost cutting measures.

VanRoekel was a long time supporter of US President Barack Obama. 

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