White House chief information officer Steven VanRoekel is stepping down from that post to advise the government’s response to Ebola, his office confirmed on Friday. Lisa Schlosser, current deputy administrator for the Office of E-Government and Information Technology, will act as interim CIO.
VanRoekel, appointed federal CIO by President Obama in 2011, is returning to the United States Agency for International Development to serve as its chief innovation officer. Prior to his White House appointment, VanRoekel led digital communications programs at USAID; he was also previously managing director at the Federal Communications Commission.
Politico first reported his departure.
In his new role, VanRoekel is expected to advise USAID’s leadership on supporting its Ebola response with technology and data: tracking trends and outcomes in recovery, for instance.
VanRoekel could also help USAID make use of mobile technology to disperse life-saving information to communities affected by the outbreak, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said in a statement.
As federal CIO, VanRoekel recently oversaw the launch of the U.S. Digital Service — a newly formed group whose mission is to help government agencies improve IT projects. Administrator Mikey Dickerson will continue to oversee the U.S. Digital Service, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
“When taking the job of U.S. Chief Information Officer, my goal was to help move Federal IT forward into the 21st Century and to bring technology and innovation to bear to improve IT effectiveness and efficiency," VanRoekel said in a statement.
VanRoekel joins USAID with the “same spirit of bringing innovation and technology to bear to solve our most difficult problems,” he said.
“Technology is not the solution to this extremely difficult task but it will be a part of the solution and I look forward to partnering with our Federal agencies, non-profit organizations and private sector tech communities to help accelerate this effort.”
Before he joined the public sector, VanRoekel worked at Microsoft between 1994 and 2009, most recently as a senior director.