Macquarie Bank’s chief digital officer Damon Rees will soon take up a new role as the NSW government’s first chief information and digital officer (GCIDO).
Rees, who will begin his new role from May 30, will “advocate for digital adoption across the NSW public sector”, according to a statement.
He is charged with “defining the long-term vision for ICT and digital technologies, implementing the NSW open data policy and improving integration across government agencies,” the state government said.
The role also entails oversight of major government ICT projects, ensuring they are delivered on time, on budget, and deliver benefits for agencies and citizens.
“Rees will be responsible for enforcing high standards of financial discipline on large-scale ICT projects across government,” Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello said.
“He will also play a critical role in accelerating the digitisation of government services.
The GCIDO is the most senior technology role within NSW Government, reporting to the Secretary of the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation.
“Individual agencies will retain CIOs but all major ICT projects across government departments will require approval and oversight by the GCIDO,” the government said.
Rees comes to the NSW government with at least two decades’ IT experience for major companies under his belt.
Prior to his role as CDO at Macquarie Bank, Rees spent two years at Woolworths in several IT management roles, including eight months as acting CIO.
He has also spent 13 years at Westpac leading a variety of technology initiatives, including enterprise infrastructure, lending transformation, and integrated service delivery.
The state government was known to have been looking for a suitable candidate for the role since at least March, when head of NSW Finance Martin Hoffman outlined some of the criteria it wanted to see in potential candidates.
Hoffman said he wanted someone “high-profile” with the “gravitas” to match, and who had “the scars on the back” to prove their experience running big digital schemes.
The NSW government last had a whole-of-government technology lead in 2010.
NSW put digital firmly in its state IT plan back in 2014, when it started to crowdsource strategy ideas and also set up a digital government taskforce “to piece together a vision for a digitally enabled public sector and how the state should achieve it.”
Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet now wants Rees to build on the government’s work and to shift its “pace-setting digital agenda … up a gear”.
“Damon comes with an exceptional track record in the business world, so it’s exciting to have someone of his calibre to drive the government’s digital agenda,” he said.