NSW fills CIO vacancy to fix e-gov worries

The NSW Minister for Commerce, Eric Roozendaal, has the state government's new chief information officer, after a five-month interruption to its "People First" IT overhaul.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

The NSW Minister for Commerce, Eric Roozendaal, has announced Emmanuel Rodriguez is to be the state government's new chief information officer, after a five-month interruption to its "People First" IT overhaul.

Rodriguez leaves his position as CIO of Prudential Corporation Asia, the Asia Pacific division of the European-headquartered financial services firm, Prudential Corporation.

"We were looking for someone who is good at implementing and delivering IT projects and services," said Daniel Petrie, a spokesperson for the NSW Department of Commerce.

Although Rodriguez lacks experience in Australian government organisations, Petrie said his work at Prudential Corporation involved working closely with up to 15 subordinate CIOs. His role as CIO for the NSW Government will be similar in that he will be working closely with the CIOs of key NSW Government departments -- including Health, Education, Police, Housing and RailCorp -- to deliver the state's People First strategy, said Petrie.

Rodriguez is expected to commence his post in November, according to Roozendaal.

"The role of government Chief Information Officer is crucial because the value of information and communication technology has never been more critical for government than it is now. We face difficult issues, particularly around the requirements of e-government, and more importantly frontline service requirements," said Roozendaal in a statement.

Rodriguez replaces ex-News Limited group IT and telecommunications director, Paul Edgecumbe, who became the NSW Government's first whole-of-government CIO in February 2005 following his stint as CIO for the NSW Department of Education and Training.

Edgecumbe's appointment was part of the state's strategy to separate strategic planning from project management duties, however, he left the position with little explanation in May, just a year after announcing the state's People First strategic IT overhaul.

People First is the NSW government's key strategy to consolidate backend systems, which consumed 70 percent of its annual IT budget, to allow some of its IT infrastructure to be shared amongst numerous departments. Similar changes are being introduced to the South Australian Government, aimed at giving citizens a unified entry point to all government services as well as centralising procurement to boost the scale of supplier contracts.

Rodriguez will press on with the People First strategy, which is expected to deliver NSW taxpayers savings of AU$565 million over four years starting from 2006.

"People First is at a crucial phase of its implementation and a strong and experienced leader is essential to drive the strategy forward and deliver the AU$565 million of targeted savings," said Roozendaal.

"This is a very important role within the NSW government and I am relishing the opportunity," said Rodriguez in a statement.

He said his first priority is garnering the support of colleagues through the NSW government's CIO Executive Council, a group consisting of all the state's departmental CIOs.

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