NSW Finance steals Fire and Rescue tech chief as CIO

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NSW Finance steals Fire and Rescue tech chief as CIO
Richard Host (right).

Richard Host to change agencies after nearly a decade.

Fire and Rescue NSW CIO Richard Host will end an almost decade-long stint in the role to take up a new challenge as the technology chief at NSW Finance, the state government’s peak IT agency.

His new position answers into corporate services deputy secretary John Hubby and holds responsibility for the department’s internal IT environment.

Responsibility for whole-of-government IT plans, such as the new data analytics centre and the state’s IT strategy, will continue to be held by Finance’s deputy secretary William Murphy.

The vacancy opened up in early September after the agency’s previous CIO, Malcolm Freame, moved into a senior position in the department’s vendor management office.

A Finance spokesperson confirmed Host would start in his new role in January.

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“The department’s priorities are to consolidate technology platforms across business units, continue the transition to infrastructure and software-as-a-service models, and to implement solutions that further support collaboration and mobility within [Finance] and across the sector,” the spokesperson said.

Ongoing projects at the department include the rollout of a new human capital management system and a transition to cloud-based shared services.

Host joined Fire and Rescue in early 2006, having previously served as the group technology officer at FMCG giant Coca-Cola Amatil.

He oversaw an array of projects during his time at the department, including the state-wide rollout of a new automatic vehicle location system (AVLS), the migration of most of Fire and Rescue’s non-000 workloads to an IBM cloud hosted out of the GovDC data centre, and the implementation of mobile data terminals to 182 fire trucks across the state. 

Host also led Fire and Rescue’s involvement in the consolidation of back office IT and business processes across the justice cluster, shifted the agency's email services from GroupWise to the cloud with Microsoft Office 365 alongside a Chromebook deployment, and implemented SAP HANA to help predict bushfires before they happen.

Fire and Rescue commissioner Greg Mullins thanked Host for his service.

“Host has provided tremendous leadership and overseen significant IT transformations within not only Fire and Rescue, but also other agencies including the NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW State Emergency Service,” Mullins said.

“Host will be greatly missed and on behalf of FRNSW I would like to thank him for his invaluable contribution to our service. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”

Mullins said the agency would make interim arrangements for the position until a new director of IT can be appointed.

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