U.S. CIO Kundra leaving for Harvard post

Vivek Kundra, the U.S.’ first Chief Information Officer, is stepping down to take a fellowship at Harvard University. Jack Lew, the director of the United States Office of Management and Budget confirmed the news, saying Kundra will leave in August for a joint fellowship position between the Kennedy School and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Kundra, who was previously the CTO for the district of Washington, D.C., joined the Obama administration in March 2009 with a charge of leveraging technology to improve the performance and efficiency of government operations. Lew said Kundra’s efforts saved $3 billion in taxpayer dollars, transitioned the federal government to the cloud and strengthened cybersecurity while promoting more transparency and openness.

Om had a good interview with Kundra after he joined and discussed how Kundra planned to help the government tap cloud computing. Kundra announced last month that government agencies will move 78 computer systems to cloud resources over the next year, part of a larger effort to shift $20 billion worth of e-mail, website management and claims processing to the cloud. With much of the work still to be done, it will fall to Kundra’s successor to see that the proposed efficiency gains are realized and the shift to the cloud goes through as planned.