The Australian government’s chief digital officer, Paul Shetler has resigned.
Shetler was moved into the CDO role less than two months ago from his position as chief executive officer of the government’s Digital Transformation Office (DTO), which he held since July last year.
Interim CEO, Nerida O’Loughlin said in a statement that Shetler had played an instrumental role in establishing the Australian government’s agenda to transform its digital presence and service delivery.
“Paul’s wealth of knowledge and international experience in the field of digital services has been invaluable to the government’s digital ambitions,” O’Loughlin said.
“His creativity and vision have been a great inspiration and have been crucial in helping the government to deliver the first phase of its digital transformation agenda. This has included the delivery of six transformed ‘exemplar’ services and the establishment of the highly successful Digital Marketplace,” said O’Loughlin.
O’Loughlin said the agency expected to fill the chief digital officer role in the new year.
Shelter was hand-picked by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to led the government’s Digital Transformation Office (now the Digtal Transformation Agency)due to his 20 years’ experience leading complex IT and business transformation projects.
He was director at the UK Government Digital Service between February and July 2015, and prior to that, he spent just over one year as chief digital officer at the UK Ministry of Justice. During this time he delivered four of the UK government’s 25 digital transformation exemplars.
The Australian Government allocated $95.4 million in the 2015-16 budget to establish the DTO as part of its $254,7 million digital transformation agenda.
Responding to the news, Labor’s shadow minister for the digital economy, Ed Husic, said the Turnbull government needs to explain the high turnover at the top of its “much-hyped” digital unit.
“Malcolm Turnbull must now assure Australia there is strong leadership and the ability to get results at the top of the re-badged Digital Transformation Agency,” Husic said.
“Mr Shelter was clearly restructured out of his chief executive role when the government revealed last month its supposedly ground-breaking move to re-name the Digital Transformation Office, the Digital Transformation Agency.”
Husic said while questions have been asked about the speed at which the DTO (now DTA) has delivered results, it’s “agile revolving door” is working its way through senior managers.
“It’s been remarkable to see the turnover in the number of senior managers over the course of the year. It’s been reported that five different senior managers come and go in a very short time. This is a concern,” he said.