John Suffolk the government CIO to step down and leave his job by the end of the year.
The move, confirmed to ComputerworldUK.com blogger Tony Collins last night, could be a setback to those campaigning for a stronger public sector hand on IT.
Suffolk has spoken against mega-projects in government, railed against IT waste and vendor lock-in, championed G-Cloud, the government cloud initiative and been keen to bring smaller, more innovative IT companies into the public sector purchasing mix.
However, Suffolk and other outspoken central government IT leaders were earlier this month gagged by officials at the Cabinet Office, who banned them from speaking in public until a new Whitehall IT strategy had been agreed.
Suffolk has worked in Central government for almost five years – a long stint for many CIOs. However, his departure could mean that the appointment of the next government CIO becomes a highly political appointment, subject to lobbying from the major IT vendors and outsourcers and behind the scenes campaigning from Whitehall officials who do not want to see diminution of their departmental powers through the development of shared services and the G-Cloud.