Former Peace Corps CIO named CIO for Minnesota

Gopal Khanna, former chief information officer and chief financial officer at the U.S. Peace Corps, was named Minnesota’s first CIO earlier this week by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

The appointment comes a month after the governor launched the state’s new Office of Enterprise Technology, which includes the Minnesota Office of Technology and InterTechnologies Group, both former divisions within the state's Department of Administration.

Khanna, 55, will manage the state’s information and telecommunications technology activities and help develop policy. He will be part of the governor’s Cabinet and serve as principal technology adviser.

“By creating this commissioner-level Cabinet position and with Gopal's exceptional leadership, we are now ready to take the next steps to more strategically employ technology across all of state government and live up to our citizen commitment,” Pawlenty said in a prepared statement.

The Office of Enterprise Technology has a budget of $83 million and a staff of more than 300. The state government spends about $600 million a year on information technology through 66 agencies. It manages 1,000 networks and operates more than 500 Web sites.

The new agency is not only expected to provide IT and telecommunications management and oversight, but also to supervise strategic investments, develop a technically literate citizenry and ensure access and delivery of government services statewide.

Khanna was appointed to be the Peace Corps’ CIO in June 2002. There he was responsible for the implementation of a standardized computing platform for the agency’s 72 posts worldwide and for the design and implementation of an enterprise architecture program, which serves as a blueprint for modernizing the agency’s systems. He also led efforts to modernize the agency's financial management systems, according to a state press release.

Khanna has a bachelor’s degree in economics, mathematics and political science from Christ Church College in Kanpur, India, and an MBA from the University of Maine. He was formerly president and chief executive officer of ITC, a Minneapolis-based IT firm.

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