Update: Massachusetts appoints new CIO

Louis Gutierrez takes over for Peter Quinn, who stepped down earlier this month

Massachusetts yesterday appointed Louis Gutierrez to head its Information Technology Division and oversee the implementation of its controversial Open Document Format plan, which is scheduled to take effect in January 2007.

Gutierrez, a 2002 Computerworld Premier 100 honoree, will leave his current position as chief technology strategist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School to fill the CIO post that had been vacant since Peter Quinn resigned earlier this month. Quinn, who had spearheaded the state's effort to move away from proprietary formats for storing government documents, cited disruptions to his personal life, concerns that his presence might detract from the IT division's work and the increasing politicization of IT as factors in his decision to resign (see "Q&A: Former Mass. CIO Says Job Became Too Political").

Bethann Pepoli, who worked closely with Quinn as chief operating officer for the state's IT division, served as acting CIO while the state sought a permanent replacement for Quinn. Pepoli will now work with Gutierrez as deputy CIO.

Gutierrez will assume his new position next Monday. He is no stranger to Massachusetts government. Gutierrez served as the state's first CIO from 1996 to 1998 after the IT Division was created by statute during the administration of Gov. William Weld.

He returned to state government in 2003 under Gov. Mitt Romney as CIO of the state's Executive Office of Health and Human Services (HHS), where he worked through June 2004. HHS has 23,000 employees and annual spending of more than $12 billion.

While at HHS, Gutierrez oversaw the development of the state's Virtual Gateway online portal, which integrated information from the disparate systems of 16 state agencies. A spokesman for Romney credited the system with improving service delivery to state residents and reducing costs.

Gutierrez is a former principal at Cambridge, Mass.-based The Exeter Group Inc., an IT strategies and integration services firm; former CIO at Wellesley, Mass.-based Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Inc.; and a former deputy director for technology planning and standards for the Federal Reserve system.

Despite the changing of the guard, the state has insisted that it remains on track to implement its Open Document plan next year. That plan calls for agencies in the executive department to save documents in the "Open Document Format for Office Applications." That format was adopted as a standard last May by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards.

The state IT division's decision to adopt the OpenDocument format has drawn opposition from Microsoft Corp., as well as a collection of legislators, government officials and groups representing persons with disabilities.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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