Gregoire appoints Wash. CIO

Gov. Chris Gregoire Monday appointed Bharat Shyam as the state’s Chief Information Officer.

“I am incredibly impressed with Bharat,” Gregoire said. “With nearly 20 years of experience at Microsoft, he brings a deep understanding of software and technology. And his level of enthusiasm for the position is unmatched. I welcome him to this role, and know the citizens of Washington state will benefit from his service.”

“I’m honored and humbled to serve the people of Washington State as part of Governor Gregoire’s team,” Shyam said. “I adopted Washington as my home two decades ago and my family has benefited enormously from working and living in this state. That’s why I’m thrilled to give back by ensuring we spend money wisely on information technology. Home to some of the most vibrant IT companies, combined with rapid change in IT and a dedicated state workforce — Washington state has the potential to be the best government in the world when it comes to information technology. I intend to use our state assets — and make our state nimble while delivering the best services to citizens at the lowest costs.”

While at Microsoft, Shyam successfully reduced costs of software publishing and servicing, while delivering higher quality and a more agile system. He began his career at Microsoft in 1993 as a software design engineer, developing early prototypes of one of the nation’s first smartphones. He later became a lead software engineer for Internet Explorer and Windows 98 and 2000, and was a creator of the billing system for several services in Microsoft — including XBOX Live. He most recently served as General Manager for Windows Azure.

Shyam earned a degree in computer science and engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, India before attending Stanford University, where he graduated with a master’s of science in computer science in 1993.

On Oct. 1, the Office of the Chief Information Officer became an official part of the restructured Office of Financial Management and Washington state government. The OCIO’s unique role in state government is to create clarity and alignment for IT investments by providing strategic direction and enterprise architecture for state government; enabling standardization and consolidation of IT infrastructure; establishing standards and policies for efficient and consistent operations; educating and inform policy leaders; creating and nurturing a cohesive operating IT community; and bringing technology expertise to improve the business of government.

“I want to thank Rob St. John for his excellent work in getting this new office off the ground,” Gregoire said. “His leadership and insight was critical to ensuring the success of this position.”

Shyam’s appointment is effective Tues., Nov. 15. He will earn an annual salary of $147,154.