Former federal CIO Vivek Kundra joins industry
One of the government’s staunchest advocates for cloud computing has made the jump to private industry after a semester-long stint in academia.
Salesforce.com announced Jan. 16 it had tapped former federal CIO Vivek Kundra to serve as executive vice president of emerging markets. Kundra was appointed in March 2009 as the nation’s first-ever federal CIO, a role he held for 2 1/2 years.
As one of the driving forces of the federal IT reform, Kundra created a 25-point plan to modernize government technology and IT resources and the cloud-first policy – a framework that helped push the government’s transition to cloud-based services in a wider effort to save money.
After leaving his White House position in August 2011 for a fellowship at Harvard University, Kundra continued to focus on research in the areas of cloud computing, open data and open government. It was shortly after joining Harvard that Kundra stirred up emotions in a New York Times op-ed in which he claimed an “IT cartel” composed of federal contractors was hampering efforts to make government more efficient by resisting changes to newer technologies.
Alan Paller, director of research at SANS Institute, highlighted Kundra's cutting-edge approach to technology in assessing the prospects for his new role at Salesforce.
“It's a great company, and he's a super bright and innovative executive,” Paller said. “I think it will help Salesforce.com in shaping products that meet federal needs and in marketing those products to government agencies.”
Salesforce.com did not immediately reveal what Kundra’s new duties would entail, but in an interview with the New York Times’ Bits blog, Kundra said his work would consist of demonstrating “how Salesforce can close the technology gap” between traditional business and the faster-moving industry.
Before his time as federal CIO, Kundra served as the chief technology officer for the District of Columbia and as the assistant secretary of commerce and technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.