VA CIO to retire in October: 4 things to know

Rob Thomas will retire from his post as U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs CIO and acting assistant secretary for information and technology in October, a VA spokesperson confirmed to Federal News Radio.

Here are four things to know about the leadership change.

1. Mr. Thomas joined the VA in 2015 as assistant deputy CIO for integration. He has served as the department's CIO since January, after the former CIO LaVerne Council left following the end of the Obama administration.

2. In an email to staff obtained by Federal News Radio, Mr. Thomas highlighted accomplishments the VA Office of Information and Technology has made in recent years.

"We have made significant progress, and we are continuing to move in the right direction with our ongoing transformation and modernization efforts and by the steadfast leadership of Secretary [David] Shulkin on behalf of our nation's 23 million veterans," he wrote. "I am proud of what we have accomplished, and continue to accomplish together, and I hope you are as well. From modernizing both our electronic health record and benefits delivery network to our continuing effort to improve enterprise cybersecurity, VA's scheduling systems and consolidating the financial management system, OI&T is committed to the secretary's initiatives to deliver better service to our veterans."

3. Scott Blackburn, who had served as interim deputy secretary of the VA until August, will take on Mr. Thomas' former titles on an interim basis. Mr. Blackburn joined the VA in 2014 to lead MyVA Task Force, an initiative to improve customer experience at the department.

4. Mr. Thomas, who had served in government positions for 35-plus years, is the sixth to leave a federal agency CIO post in recent months, according to Federal News Radio. Mr. Thomas previously worked at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Defense and the Air Force.

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