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FCW : July 30, 2014
Editor’sNote 6 July 30, 2014 FCW.COM The argument that private firms can do everything better than government agencies can never held much water with me. When it comes to succession planning, however, it’s not even a contest. In just 24 hours in mid-July, three important firms in federal IT — Booz Allen Hamilton, DynCorp and American Systems — announced new CEOs. American Systems and Booz Allen both elevated longtime executives who’d been groomed internally, while DynCorp brought in an outsider, and the timelines and reasons for change varied significantly. But in all three cases, the leadership changes came quickly and with clarity — no acting executives or long-term vacancies to risk sapping a firm’s momentum. For agencies, of course, it’s not that simple. Federal rules rightly require transparency and encourage competitive hiring, while White House and Senate considerations can shape and slow more senior appointments. Had the Pentagon announced a new permanent CIO the day Teri Takai resigned, there likely would have been a congressional investigation! But procedural hurdles are no excuse for failing to plan. How many agencies are prepared to pull off a transition like the General Services Administration’s? When Casey Coleman stepped down as CIO, much of GSA was rooting for her deputy, Sonny Hashmi, to take over the job. Hashmi had the qualifications, the internal support and the reputation elsewhere in government to not only offer continuity as acting CIO, but quickly get the green light for the permanent post. Too often, though, “acting” seems to equal “not an option for the long term,” and agencies drift for months or even years without empowered leaders in key posts. In a 2013 interview with Washington Technology, former Lockheed Martin executive and 2002 Eagle award winner Linda Gooden explained that the company aimed to have two “ready now candidates” for every critical position, as well as a longer- term list of promising up-and-comers. Can your agency say that? Given the thousands of talented professionals in federal IT and the countless jobs through which they can rotate, is cultivating a short list of ready successors really too much to ask? — T ROY K. SCHNEIDER firstname.lastname@example.org, @troyschneider Do you know who will follow you? EDITOR-IN -CHIEF Troy K. Schneider EXECUTIVE EDITOR John Bicknell MANAGING EDITOR Terri J. Huck STAFF WRITERS Colby Hochmuth, Sean Lyngaas, Adam Mazmanian, Mark Rockwell CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Richard E. Cohen, Alan Joch, Konstantin Kakaes, John Moore, Colleen O’Hara, Katherine Reynolds Lewis, Richard A. Spires, Sarah L ai Stirland CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jeff Langkau ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR Dragutin Cvijanovic SENIOR WEB DESIGNER Martin Peace EDITORIAL FELLOW Jonathan Lutton PRESIDENT Henry Allain CO-PRESIDENT Anne Armstrong CHIEF REVENUE OFFICER Dan LaBianca CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER Carmel McDonagh PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Neal Vitale SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Richard Vitale EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Michael J. Valenti VICE PRESIDENT, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT Erik A. Lindgren VICE PRESIDENT, EVENT OPERATIONS David F. Myers CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Jeffrey S. Klein HOW TO REACH THE STAFF A list of staff members can be found online at www.fcw.com. E-mail: Staff members can be reached by using the nam- ing convention of first initial followed by their last name @1105media.com. Vienna Office (weekdays, 8:30 a.m . – 5:30 p.m . ET) (703) 876-5100; Fax (703) 876-5126 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500, Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Corporate Office (weekdays, 8:30 a.m . – 5:30 p.m . PT) (818) 814-5200; Fax (818) 734-1522 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311
July 15, 2014
August 15, 2014