Australian government chief information officer (CIO) Ann Steward has announced that she will retire from the role after seven years, and 30 years in the public service.
In an email sent to staff today, and sighted by ZDNet, Steward said that she would leave at the end of this year.
"I would like to advise you all that after seven long, hard, and rewarding years, I have decided to retire as AGCIO and the APS. This will take effect from the end of this year," she said.
Steward said she is proud of the achievements that have been made over the last seven years.
"I have really appreciated the privilege of working with you, and especially the support and the hard work that you have all given, including during some very demanding times," she said.
"I have also appreciated the spirit, good humour, thoughtfulness, and professionalism that you have applied to your work, and your interactions that have created the stimulating culture that is central to our whole-of-government work."
Steward was appointed to the CIO role within the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) by then Special Minister of State Eric Abetz in June 2005. Prior to this, Steward was general manager of enterprise capability at Centrelink, and a number of senior executive positions in government agencies over the last few decades.
Ovum analyst Kevin Noonan praised Steward's legacy.
"Ann has been one of the longest-serving government CIOs, and has seen a period of significant change. I think she will be remembered for putting IT back squarely onto the government policy map," he told ZDNet.
He said that the Gershon Review, which was brought in just after the Labor government took power at the end of 2007, will be remembered as a significant achievement for Steward, because it was successful in its objectives in looking for government savings.
"Ann [Steward] will be remembered as a mover and shaker, and somebody who built bridges with CIOs in other states."
Noonan said that the challenge for the incoming government CIO will be to look at a new strategic direction for AGIMO, and whether the Department of Finance is the right place for AGIMO in the future. That tends to continue to push a financial perspective on everything AGIMO does; perhaps a policy agency would be a better place for it.
Steward's departure comes in the wake of a number of other high-profile Australian government CIOs leaving, including Department of Defence CIO Greg Farr and Department of Human Services CIO John Wadeson.
Noonan said that it is a time of generational change in government CIOs, with many different challenges facing the government in IT.
"We are now looking at a community that is looking at dealing with government in a very different way, such as mobile and social, and we have to look at how the government will use big data. These are all policy questions that need to be answered."
ZDNet asked the Department of Finance and Deregulation for details around Steward's successor; however, no response had been received at the time of writing.
The full email that Steward sent to staff is reproduced below.
I would like to advise you all that after seven long, hard, and rewarding years, I have decided to retire as AGCIO and the APS. This will take effect from the end of this year.
I have really appreciated the privilege of working with you and especially the support and the hard work that you have all given, including during some very demanding times.
I have also appreciated the spirit, good humour, thoughtfulness, and professionalism that you have applied to your work, and your interactions that have created the stimulating culture that is central to our whole-of-government work.
We can all be very proud of the many achievements that have been delivered over the years, supporting the governments of the day in the delivery of their programs and services, enabled by technology.
I will be speaking with you all at our all AGIMO session and I will take that opportunity to wish you personally all the very best for the future.
The secretary will provide details of future arrangements for the office.