Eighteen months after quitting his high-profile post in British central government IT to take an executive role with EMC U.K., Bill McCluggage has decided to return to the public sector -- only this time in Dublin, not London.
The industry veteran has just been announced as the Irish Republic's first-ever national CIO, ending his tenure as the storage giant's U.K. and Irish chief technologist, based in Northern Ireland. He resigned from his position as Britain's deputy governmental CIO in November 2011.
In this new role, he will report to Brendan Howlin, the Dail's minister for public expenditure and reform, and is tasked with leading the state's CIO Council, as well as helping drive further implementation of e-government and cloud computing strategies.
"Bill will provide guidance and leadership at the executive level across the entire IT spectrum, and will take responsibility for the development of the ICT [information and communications technology] strategy for government and the wider public service," said Howlin. Another senior Irish politician, secretary general Robert Watt, said McCluggage's entry will "positively influence the direction of technology enabled change across the public service in Ireland and play a key role in the delivery of the government's strategic change objectives."
[ See how the U.K. government is trying to learn from industry. See Tech Execs Help U.K. Raise Its Procurement Game. ]
For his part, McCluggage looks forward to the opportunity to "make a tangible difference to the delivery of public services across Ireland through effective use of technology, e-government and cloud computing."
McCluggage has strong links to the Province of Northern Ireland, for example working as Northern Irish CIO and senior information risk owner. Apparently, he was tempted to cross the border and go south by too good an opportunity to miss; this is the first time Ireland has had such a position.
U.K. commentators are speculating that it may mark a period of renewed ICT investment by the former "Celtic Tiger," as it struggles to shake off the remnants of the banking crisis.
Coincidentally, another former British ICT leader, and one-time overall CIO, John Suffolk has also popped up again this week. Suffolk left his position with the British government in 2011, a few months before McCluggage, and was appointed global head of cybersecurity for Chinese IT company Huawei.
Suffolk blogged a few days ago to record his skepticism with U.S. security policy by way of a mock letter to U.S. President Obama. He wrote, "Dear Mr. President, we spend more than 2,000 times per person on defense than China but we cannot defend our defense networks."
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