N.C. CIO resigns for return to private sector

Chris Estes, N.C. Department of Information Technology

Chris Estes, N.C. Department of Information Technology

RALEIGH -North Carolina’s chief information officer is stepping down to take a job in the private sector. Gov. Pat McCrory announced Monday that Chris Estes, who had been the driving force behind the governor’s strategy to increase governmental efficiency through technology, will leave his post effective Nov. 29. He plans to return to PricewaterhouseCoopers, a consulting firm where he worked in the early 2000s.

“Chris has been instrumental in modernizing the state’s information technology operations,” McCrory said. “Not only has he saved the taxpayers millions of dollars, the customer-first attitude he brought from his private sector experience has made it easier for individual citizens and small business owners to interact and do business with state government.”

Estes led efforts to consolidate information technology, or IT, services across state government into one comprehensive agency. This year McCrory called for creating a cabinet-level agency to better coordinate IT resources, which the General Assembly did this fall in the budget with Estes’ guidance.

Deputy State CIO Keith Werner will serve as acting CIO, continuing to build the new Department of Information Technology. When fully implemented, the new department will manage of 2,200 IT professionals across the state.

Since joining the governor’s staff, Estes worked to integrate a higher level of technology in areas such as human resources, data analytics, website redesigns and improved customer experiences on mobile devices.

“I would like to thank Governor McCrory for the opportunity to serve in his administration,” Estes said. “Governor McCrory’s leadership in using technology to be more efficient and effective in serving the citizens sets him apart from other governors and even private-sector CEOs.”

Another feather in Estes’ governmental cap was the creation of the iCenter, or Innovation Center, designed to modernize and improve customer service.  Nationally recognized as an innovation in state government management, the iCenter allows state agencies to try out technology systems before committing taxpayer money to purchase them.