by Bonnie Gardiner

?Melbourne appoints first chief digital officer

Sep 30, 2015
Digital TransformationGovernment

The City of Melbourne has appointed PwC partner Michelle Fitzgerald as Victoria’s first ever chief digital officer.

In the role, Fitzgerald will head up the City of Melbourne’s newly-formed Smart City Office to help attract tech and bioscience startups; drive the take up of digital, agile development and open data across customer services; and lead the shift in infrastructure management towards smart city modelling.

The Smart City office will also collaborate with Melbourne’s research and higher education sectors to help build the city’s education capabilities and reputation as a knowledge hub.

Fitzgerald joins the Council following 11 years as a PwC consultant on digital customer strategy for the financial services sector. Her industry experience spans the financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, and technology across Australia and internationally. She has held senior roles with Accenture, Nutrition Australia and Australia China Business Council (Victorian division).

City of Melbourne CEO Ben Rimmer, who formerly led digital transformation for the Federal Department of Human Services, announced Fitzgerald’s appointment to the role on Wednesday.

“Michelle comes to us with an outstanding work history in digital strategy both in Australia and internationally,” he said.

“In her roles with PwC, she has led teams on projects helping some of Australia’s largest companies to develop and refine their strategies for the future.

“Now Michelle will do the same for the City of Melbourne.”

Rimmer said the challenges and opportunities created by digital disruption should be embraced by all levels of government.

“Technological change is affecting the way we live, work and do business in our city and we must harness this change to take full advantage.

“It is vital that we get this right if we are to maintain our liveability and our economic prosperity,” he said.

In May it became one of 16 global cities picked by IBM to take part in the its smart cities challenge, where IBM consultants collaborate with local government workers, improving operations by applying data analytics.

The appointment of Melbourne’s CDO comes shortly after Canberra assigned Jon Cumming as its first CDO in July this year. Brisbane City Council has led the digital charge with the appointment of Kieran O’Hea as far back as 2012, with Cat Matson taking over the role in 2014.