Ladner to quit Treasury CIO job

Drew Ladner, the Treasury Department's chief information officer, has told his staff that he will be leaving the office to which President Bush appointed him more than a year ago.

Ladner, who turned 35 in February, manages a $2.6 billion information technology budget and is a prominent figure on many intergovernmental committees. In the year since he became CIO, Ladner has been recognized for advancing e-government, improving IT security and introducing a new approach to IT governance in the department. During Ladner's tenure, the Treasury CIO's office gained the authority to approve all IT spending, including the Internal Revenue Service's spending on systems modernization projects.

Ladner's office confirmed his plans to leave on April 30, but made no public announcement today. Mike Parker, deputy CIO and a career federal employee, most likely will become acting CIO.

Ladner could not be reached for comment about the reasons for his departure or his future plans. But a Treasury insider said the CIO position is slated to revert to a career position, and that Ladner as a political appointee felt that now is an appropriate time to leave.

He was the first permanent CIO to replace Jim Flyzik, who left the government in 2002 after 28 years of government service. Flyzik, now a partner with the government technology consulting company Guerra, Kiviat, Flyzik and Associates Inc., said Ladner's plans to leave came as a surprise to people who knew him.

Treasury is still rebuilding after losing 40 percent of its staff, or more than 70 employees, in transfers to the Homeland Security Department last year.

Ladner's departure will definitely have an impact on Treasury, particularly in terms of continuity since he's only been at the department for a year, said Dave McClure, vice president for e-government at the Council for Excellence in Government.

But this is the sort of changeover that happens with CIOs, in government and in industry, he said. "You can't assume long-term stability in the CIO position," he said. "From day one, ever since the position was created in government, it's been a high-turnover position."

There have always been some CIOs that are political, but the majority are career and no one has really been able to show a difference, McClure said.

All CIOs in government have enough power, said Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget. The issue isn't so much the explicit power of the position as it is the quality and capabilities of the person holding the position, Johnson said earlier this week at the FOSE government technology conference.

"They can be really, really effective€and if somebody doesn't have those capabilities, I don't care how powerful they are, they'll never be effective," said Johnson, talking about CIOs in general.

Ladner came to Treasury from a position as managing director of Clasis Capital LLC, a boutique technology investment company specializing in software and telecommunications. As a technology executive, he held positions at AOL Time Warner Inc., Ripcord Systems Inc. and Netscape Communications Corp.

He also had an international business background, and his curriculum vitae lists his work in helping launch a microenterprise bank in East Africa.

Ladner is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has a master's degree in business administration from Harvard Business School, a master's in theology from Oxford University and a bachelor's degree in international economics from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.

-- Diane Frank contributed to this report.

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