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Queensland loses tech chief to Microsoft

Queensland loses tech chief to Microsoft

Third state chief information officer to quit this year

Microsoft spokeswoman Anne Flanagan confirmed yesterday that Peter Grant, Queensland state government chief information officer, had accepted a role at the company. The appointment is a significant coup for Microsoft as Mr Grant is one of Australia's most powerful public sector technology officers.

He oversees information and communications technology (ICT) initiatives across the state's public sector, including whole-of-government purchasing directives that influence hundreds of millions of dollars of government funding.

He is also a senior figure in Australia's IT industry in general, having worked for both the public and private sector in many roles since beginning his career with the Queensland government in the 1970s.

Ms Flanagan declined to comment further but sources said Mr Grant would join Microsoft as the state director of Microsoft's Queensland division.

His office is within the purview of Queensland Public Works, Housing and ICT Minister Robert Schwarten. Mr Schwarten's spokesman, Scott Chandler, confirmed Mr Grant had resigned but would not comment further.

The move comes at a critical time for the state government in terms of its internal ICT initiatives. He and his team are implementing recommendations from a review of the state's use of ICT by the Service Delivery and Performance Commission in October 2006.

The review spurred Queensland to follow other states, such as NSW and South Australia, in centralising many aspects of technology decision-making and purchasing under its over-arching chief information officer.

Some effects have already started to be felt. For example, in August, Queensland slashed its list of desktop computer providers, picking just three companies to supply its needs, in a three-year contract estimated at $165 million.

Mr Grant was said to have been well-respected within government and by Queensland's IT industry.

"He was a breath of fresh air," the chief executive of Queensland-headquartered technology supplier Technology One, Adrian Di Marco, said.

Mr Grant had been very passionate about the state's IT industry. For example, he had established a local working group in which the industry could talk to the government. His resignation makes him the third state CIO to quit this year. Former NSW state CIO Paul Edgecumbe left in May, while The Australian Financial Review revealed late last month that South Australia's Grantley Mailes had resigned and would finish up late next month.

Victorian officials confirmed last week that the state's former chief information officer, Jane Treadwell, whose position was marginalised in restructuring after the state election 12 months ago, was now the executive director of a newly formed group called the Citizen Access and Transformation Division.

However, officials could not immediately say what the division's purpose was.

© Fairfax Business Media

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