IRS goes outside for modernization boss

A new chief will take over the Internal Revenue Service's troubled Business Systems Modernization effort in mid-September.

Richard Spires, a recent hire from the commercial sector, will replace Fred Forman as head of the tax agency's $10 billion attempt to modernize its Kennedy-era tax-processing technology.

Spires, former president and chief operating officer of consulting firm Mantas Inc., joined the tax agency in April. His appointment as BSM head is part of a larger effort to install experienced private-sector executives in the upper echelons of the IRS modernization management, said W. Todd Grams, chief information officer for the IRS.

"Our core competency is tax administration," Grams said. "We need to complement that."

Forman will leave the agency in mid-November, about six months before his non-renewable four-year term contract was due to expire, said Grams, who declined to disclose the duration of Spires' contract.

Spires and Forman were unavailable for comment, according to an IRS spokesman.

Since April, Spires has been one of four associate CIOs. His current position, which will be dissolved following his ascension as modernization head, was created expressly for him as a transition position, Grams said.

"It gave Richard some immediate responsibility without introducing someone new to the project into management directly," Grams said.

The six-month overlap between Spires and Forman was also part of that transition process, he added. "We wanted several months to get Richard up to speed, and then turn the reins over to him, and at the same time still have Fred here for a couple more months," Grams said.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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