Governor McCrory Announces State CIO will Return to Private Sector
Governor Pat McCrory announced today that Chris Estes is stepping down as State Chief Information Officer to return to the private sector. The governor tasked Estes with improving the efficiency of the state’s information technology structure and improving the service experience for North Carolina citizens.
“Chris has been instrumental in modernizing the state’s information technology operations,” Governor McCrory said. “Not only has he saved the taxpayers millions of dollars, the customer-first attitude he brought from his private sector experience has made it easier for individual citizens and small business owners to interact and do business with state government.”
Estes’ last day will be November 29, 2015.
Deputy State Chief Information Officer Keith Werner will serve as Acting State Chief Information Officer. Werner will continue to build the new Department of Information Technology, which the governor called for in his 2015 State of the State address. The General Assembly incorporated the new cabinet-level agency into the budget the governor signed into law this past session.
Estes was instrumental in working with the General Assembly in fulfilling the governor’s vision of transforming IT from a collection of uncoordinated backroom operations to a critical driver of the state’s total infrastructure. When fully implemented, the new department will provide clear accountability and efficiency for the governance and management of 2,200 IT professionals across the state.
The establishment of the Innovation Center (iCenter) was a major accomplishment by Estes to meet the governor’s mandate on modernization and improved customer service. The iCenter is a proving ground where state agencies, private industry and students collaborate in a “try before you buy” approach to testing technology systems before the state invests in them. The iCenter has been recognized with three national awards and has started a national conversation about innovation in state government.
Estes also fulfilled the governor’s challenge in creating a more nimble and responsive workplace culture where innovative state employees could thrive. Estes helped usher in new management changes to half of the state agencies, introduced new IT human resource practices, closed the technology platform deficit, improved the use of data analytics, and digitally transformed state websites for mobile usability and navigation.
The amount of innovation Estes has brought to state government has been recognized nationally with multiple CIO of the Year awards including being named this month as the North Carolina Technology Association Public Sector CIO of the Year.
“I would like to thank Governor McCrory for the opportunity to serve in his administration,” Estes said. “Governor McCrory’s leadership in using technology to be more efficient and effective in serving the citizens sets him apart from other governors and even private sector CEOs.”
Estes will return to consulting firm PwC to support private sector clients in the Carolinas. He worked for PwC Consulting in early 2000 before acquisition by IBM.