CenITex transformation continues with new members on board

Coming from a history of nepotism and overpaid contractors, three IT industry experts have been appointed to Victoria's IT services provider to turn things around.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

The Victorian government has appointed three members to its board as part of its transformation of the state IT services provider the Centre for IT Excellence (CenITex).

The three members are Coles group general manager Conrad Harvey, former Department of Business and Innovation deputy secretary of innovation and technology Randall Straw, and former Goldman Sachs JB Were CIO Dr Richard Tait.

"The transformation of CenITex is a complex task that will require high-level corporate management, transformational and ICT service delivery experience above and beyond the usual role of a government board," the state's Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips said in a statement.

The state only recently appointed its Victorian chief technology advocate Grantly Mailes as the new chair of CenITex.

The Centre for IT Excellence has a history of controversy; Fairfax Media reported earlier this month that former CenITex executives in charge of state IT contracts accepted significant gifts from companies such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Microsoft.

In October 2012, the state's ombudsman conducted an investigation into the services provider, finding instances of nepotism and favouritism in its procurement processes. Up to AU$4 million worth of IT contracts were awarded without following competitive processes, with work often awarded to friends or associates of existing contractors.

Even further back than that, contractors hired by CenITex were being paid exorbitant rates, with Rich-Phillips, who was then the shadow finance minister, stating that they were probably the highest paid public servants in Victoria.

CenITex later slashed 200 jobs from the agency in 2012.

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