April 26, 2012

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg named Wall Street veteran Rahul Merchant the city's new CIO, taking over for Carole Post, who served as commissioner of New York's Department of IT and Telecommunications (DoITT) for the past two years.

Bloomberg turned to the business sector he knows best, financial services, to find the city's new CIO. Merchant comes from private equity firm Exigen Capital, where he was a partner. Prior to that he was chief information and operations officer with Fannie Mae and, before that, Merrill Lynch's long-time CTO.

With a staff of 1,200, Merchant takes on responsibility for the city's sprawling IT operations, as well as its efforts to be a center of technology innovation. That includes working with academic institutions, technology firms, and entrepreneurs, according to a statement from Bloomberg's office. Reflecting that dual role, Merchant's title is chief information and innovation officer, the first time a city official has had that designation.

Merchant, who reports to Bloomberg, oversees the delivery of IT services to 300,000 city employees in 120 agencies and departments. In addition to managing the city's data centers and NYCWin wireless network, DoITT provides the city's help desk and 311 services.

Merchant is charged with keeping the city's IT projects on-time and on-budget, creating a Center of Excellence that establishes standard practices for big IT projects, instituting a vendor evaluation system, and adding performance targets to tech contracts. He is also expected to expand broadband access to more city neighborhoods, help drive the city's open data programs, and find new uses for the citywide NYCWin network.

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