American tech policy executive tapped to run the ACS

James Riley
Editorial Director

After a global search lasting a year and a half, the technology sector’s professional association – the Australian Computer Society – has appointed a new chief executive officer, an American career tech policy and transformation specialist, Chris Vein.

Mr Vein is currently based in the San Francisco bay area but is planning to relocate to Australia in the coming months. He takes up the CEO role from May 9.

The vast majority of Mr Vein career has been in the US, his work history includes a short stint as a partner at PwC Australia in Sydney where he built a global government digital transformation practice, launching first in Australia, then rolling out through the Asia-Pacific, Europe and finally the Americas.

He takes the reins at the ACS from Canberra-based acting chief executive Rupert Grayston, a quintessential ‘safe pair of hands’ who steered the society for 18 months through a period of quiet recovery.

ACS headquarters. Credit: Holli/

Mr Grayston took over in an acting capacity at perhaps the lowest point in the society’s 50-plus year history, a turbulent period in which a botched attempt at restructuring its not-for-profit status ended with a group of members taking the ACS management to the Federal Court.

The nascent in-fighting within its management committee largely ended with the departure of the previous CEO Andrew Johnson in October 2020, while the ACS’ public activities largely went quiet

Mr Grayston will remain with the ACS and is expected to return to his previous role as director of professional standards and assessment services.

Mr Vein’s professional experience covers both hands-on tech executive roles, but also technology policy development, including at the White House.

In addition to his role as partner for global government digital transformation at PwC Australia, his previous roles have included chief innovation officer for global ICT development at the World Bank; deputy US chief technology officer for government innovation at the White House; and city CIO and executive director at the Department of Technology for the City and County of San Francisco.

According to ACS president Nick Tate, Mr Vein has been a member of the ACS for more than four years, presumably dating to his time at PwC Australia between October 2016 and June 2018.

The Australian Computer Society is one of the best resourced professional associations in Australia, generating 2021 revenues of nearly $50 million.

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