The Department of Defence has appointed a new Chief Information Officer to replace its outgoing head of technology Greg Farr.
Dr Peter Lawrence has been appointed to the prestigious role, which is one of the most powerful IT positions within the Federal Government and oversees the third largest ICT network in Australia.
Lawrence is currently serving as Group Manager of IT, Energy Markets at Origin Energy, where his experience with shared services and ICT outsourcing appears to have appealed to Defence.
“In this role he has managed the delivery of technology services to the Energy Markets business through a shared services model that is, to a large part, outsourced to key partners,” says a letter from Acting Secretary of Defence Simon Lewis, seen by Intermedium.
He has also held CIO positions at ANZ Bank and within the Australian, Japanese and International divisions of Shell, a company he worked for between 1999 and 2007.
He has a PhD in Chemistry from the UK’s University of Bath.
Current CIO Greg Farr’s contract with Defence will expire next month, following five years of service heading up the Chief Information Officer Group (CIOG). A Defence spokesperson confirmed back in July that the Department had not offered him the opportunity to renew. Applications for the position opened in July.
Farr is not expected to take on another public service position, however it is unknown whether he will look for new opportunities in the private sector or hang up his boots for good.
His successor, Lawrence, will need to hit the ground running at the Department, with the commencement of an important new telecommunications relationship likely to top his agenda for the first few months. Defence is due to announce the winner of its Terrestrial Communications bundle of work this month. Both Telstra and Optus are in the running for the contract which Defence says will be worth more than $1 billion.
He will also pick up responsibility for the Defence ICT Strategic Reform Program (SRP), commenced by Farr, which aims to save $1.9 billion in technology expenditure over ten years to 2019 by:
- Consolidating 200 data centres to less than ten under the Centralised Processing initiative;
- Creating a single enterprise architecture;
- Standardising the Defence ICT environment; and
- Reviewing the effectiveness of the two pass process for ICT projects.
According to Intermedium’s Federal Government contracts database, Defence entered into more than $1.4 billion worth of ICT contracts commencing in the 2011-12 financial year.