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VA CIO Roger Baker stepping down

Roger Baker

After 15 years in government, the Veterans Affairs Department CIO is leaving public service.

Roger Baker made the announcement Feb. 15, in an internal memo to the VA IT department. saying he would retire "in the near future."

A source speaking on the condition of anonymity told FCW that Baker will be moving to the private sector, did not plan to reveal where until he has formally left government service. Baker's announcement made no mention of what he plans to do next.

In his dual role as CIO and assistant secretary for information and technology, Baker has directly managed the $3.3 billion organization of more than 7,500 IT professionals. Under Baker, IT became a critical part of the agency's fabric, focused on the transformative power of technology. When Baker joined the department in 2009, he and Secretary Eric Shinseki agreed VA should first "renovate IT and then use IT to renovate the department."

Although Baker stepped into the VA CIO role in 2009, his public-service career stretches back to 1998. As CIO for the Commerce Department, he worked to convert old systems and processes to e-commerce and improve technology management. He also played a role in creating the federal CIO position.

"Roger is one of those rare leaders who can set an inspiring vision and implement it in practical and effective ways to produce real results," said Julie Anderson, chief operating officer and managing director at Civitas Group and a close friend and former colleague of Baker's. "He is innovative, level-headed, and a consummate problem solver. He instituted accountability mechanisms, encouraged higher levels of performance from employees and contractors, and was a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars. VA and the entire government is better off because of his service."

Before and in-between his government appointments, Baker was CEO and president at Dataline LLC, a Virginia-based IT services and integration company. He also served as CIO at General Dynamics Information Technology, and as an executive vice president and general manager at CACI International.

Baker also helped grow and sell three software/Internet companies. He served as chief operating officer of BlueGill Technologies, and as vice president of engineering and operations at VISA International, where he created the VISA Interactive Banking System; and as vice president of consulting and services for Verdix Corporation.

A repeat Federal 100 winner, Baker was most recently honored in 2013 for his leadership in establishing an IT software acquisition team, technology roadmap, and a streamlined analysis approach for strategic software sourcing options to create savings.

In a different, June 2012 event where he was recognized for excellence, Baker summed up his views on what leadership looks like, stressing the focus on results.

"I think a leader has to be the rock that results are built on in an organization, and really has to be focused on delivering those results," he said. "In the end, results are all that matter. We spend a lot of time on process in the government [but] process doesn't serve veterans. Process doesn't serve the taxpayers. Process doesn't serve all of our other mission focuses."

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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Reader comments

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 OccupyIT

I hate to say it since Mr. Baker deserves kudos for his leadership role across the Federal government but VA is still largely a disaster under the hood. When agile means release twice a year and they still have a largely unperformant internal data center fiefdom it means we really needed Mr. Baker to stay a while longer! Congratulations and thanks for the service!

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 ALM

Roger is a class act. I've watched him drive transformation in culturally challenging situations with minimal broken glass. Seriously, this will be a loss for VA and Fed IT in general.

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