Christopher Fechner has been appointed to lead the Digital Transformation Agency, as the office undergoes a significant restructuring and refocus.
Employment Minister Stuart Robert announced on Wednesday that Mr Fechner, currently the Queensland government’s inaugural chief digital officer, had been appointed as the new chief executive officer of the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), after former boss Randall Brugeaud stood down in mid-June to take on a new trade taskforce role.
DTA chief operating officer Peter Alexander has been serving as acting chief executive since Mr Brugeuad left the agency three months ago.
Mr Fechner will start on October 13 and will be the third permanent chief executive of the DTA since it was rebranded in October 2016, following Gavin Slater and Mr Brugeaud.
His appointment is for a period of five years.
Mr Fechner has served in state government digital roles for more than five years. He was appointed as Queensland’s first ever chief customer and digital officer in January last year, after serving as the digital chief at Service NSW for about nine months.
Before that, Mr Fechner was chief information officer at the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment.
Mr Fechner will lead the DTA through a period of significant change after the agency was moved from Services Australia to the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet earlier this year and was handed a new remit and a major funding cut.
The DTA has been told to shift its focus from service delivery and project management towards the delivery of whole-of-government advice and strategy. This has seen the DTA lose responsibility for a number of key programs, including digital identity, the COVIDSafe contact tracing app, and the myGov rebuild.
Mr Robert said the DTA has a “key role to play in delivering the government’s ambitious digital transformation agenda”.
“Mr Fechner will bring proven and strong leadership to the DTA, as it plays its key role in our ambitious push to become one of the top three digital governments in the world by 2025,” Mr Robert said.
“Mr Fechner’s experience in senior digital roles within the Queensland and New South Wales governments will serve the DTA well in driving this key government priority.”
Mr Brugeaud announced he was standing down as DTA chief executive in mid-June to take on a new role as chair of the Department of Trade’s Simplified Trade Systems Implementation Taskforce.
This year’s federal budget featured a “large reduction” in the DTA’s funding and responsibility, with a cut of about $90 million. The DTA’s staffing level is also to be cut from 255 to 227 full-time employees.
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