Yesterday Ann Steward, whole-of-government CIO for Australia, announced that she will retire at the end of the year.
I have known Ann for a long time and I’ve always admired the blend of curiosity, strength and clear sense of direction that she showed in her role. As many have observed, she has been heading the Australian Government Information Management Office for seven years, which makes her one of the longest-tenure government CIOs in such a role. She has gone through several government changes, through major cost containment initiatives, and she has been instrumental in areas like government 2.0 and cloud computing.
One of her strengths, I believe, has been to surround herself with top notch executives: people like John Sheridan and Glenn Archer are amongst the most capable and pleasant professionals I have ever worked with.
I do sincerely hope that her legacy will last and whomever will take her position will continue the great work she has been doing. In the next few years Australia has a great opportunity to leapfrog many other nations thanks to the deployment of its National Broadband Network (NBN). The federal government can be at the forefront of this change both in an enabler and in a user role. What Ann and her colleagues have shown is that there is no need for mandating initiatives: when applying common sense, departments and agencies will follow because it is the right thing to do, not because they are forced to. This attitude is an asset that should not get lost in the transition.
I was honored to have had the opportunity of hosting Ann at our Gartner Symposium last week in what is probably going to be one of het last appearances in front of an audience in her current role.
My best wishes for a new phase in her life and to whomever will take her legacy to the next level.