White House's New Techie-in-Chief Is an Ex-Microsoft Man

Steven VanRoekel, current managing director of the FCC and former Microsoft executive, will become the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the federal government this Thursday and be responsible for the country's $80 billion-a-year IT budget.

The CIO is a relatively new position, created by the current Obama administration, and is primarily responsible for creating "transparency, accountability, and citizen participation in Federal Government through the use of innovative IT strategies." This means not only managing the IT budget, but improving security practices, increasing efficiency and generally making the Federal government run more smoothly.

VanRoekel comes from the the Federal Communications Commission where he oversaw all operational aspects of the agency and helped in the agency's adoption of new technology and media. Before that, he served as a Microsoft executive in the Windows Server and Tools division.

He's certainly no stranger to improving efficiency through strategic technology implementation. When he was still the director of midsize business solutions strategy, he headed up the development of Windows Essential Business Server which was "designed to help midsize businesses achieve greater efficiency by simplifying the management and deployment of the company's infrastructure, while also facilitating greater integration, security and automation of specific tasks."

The former CIO, Vivek Kundra, has held the position since March of 2009 and introduced programs like the IT Dashboard, a publicly available site that tracks the spending vs progress of federal IT projects (through which they pared under-performing projects worth an estimated $3 billion in savings), and nudged the Feds towards The Cloud rather than relying on desktop computing.

[The NY Times - NetCaucus - FCC - image courtesy of Shutterstock]