January 27, 2012 – Federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra is stepping down nearly three years after President Obama created the communications and tech strategy position.
The move was announced Friday by Obama, with Chopra's last day slated for Feb. 8. There was no indication of Chopra’s next moves or statements directly from him in the announcement or in a blog post on the Office of Science and Technology Policy website by John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. However, the Washington Post and other news outlets reported that Chopra intends to run for lieutenant governor of Virginia.
Chopra, 39, is a graduate of Johns Hopkins and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Afterward, he served as the Secretary of Technology for the State of Virginia, a role previously held by former federal CIO Vivek Kundra. Chopra was appointed by Obama in January 2009 with the goals of finding technological means for job creation, reducing IT health care costs and tech concerns with national security. As part of Obama’s “Strategy for American Innovation” plan announced in September 2009, the president pointed to Chopra’s involvement in “looking at ways technology can spur innovations that help government do a better and more efficient job.” During his tenure, Chopra helped design a nationwide public safety broadband network, set Internet policy principles and implemented the federal open government strategy, according to the federal blog.
“Aneesh has led that charge in an energetic, innovative, and amazingly effective manner, and sowed the seeds necessary to bring our government into the 21st century,” Holdren wrote.
Obama stated that Chopra “found countless ways to engage the American people using technology, from electronic health records for veterans, to expanding access to broadband for rural communities, to modernizing government records. His legacy of leadership and innovation will benefit Americans for years to come, and I thank him for his outstanding service.”
Chopra often worked alongside Kundra, who has also since moved on to positions at Harvard and Salesforce.