Hawaii governor names nonprofit director as new CIO

Christine Sakuda, who's been advocating for Hawaii's IT modernization from a nonprofit, will now lead technology initiatives from within the state government.
Hawaii Gov. Josh Green
Hawaii Gov. Josh Green speaks during a press conference about the destruction of historic Lahaina and the aftermath of wildfires in western Maui in Wailuku, Hawaii on August 10, 2023. (Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images)

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green on Friday named Christine Sakuda, the executive director of a nonprofit that advocates for the improvement of technology in Hawaii’s state agencies, as the state’s new chief information officer.

Sakuda replaces Doug Murdock, who departed the CIO role last month after four years in the role. Sakuda has spent the past seven years as executive director of Transform Hawaii Government, a group that’s currently tracking an upgrade to the state government’s financial management systems and its transition away from business processes that rely on paper documents.

In an opinion piece published last year, Sakuda shared the results of a series of interviews with state employees showing that “leaders are often hampered by technological constraints.”


“Although there are bright spots and progress in government modernization, much of Hawaii state government still uses old computers and technology systems that rely on manual processes,” she wrote. “The main backbone financial system to manage our state’s $14 billion budget is 50 years old. That’s like trying to be efficient using manual typewriters.”

Sakuda also served as a tech policy fellow at the Aspen Tech Policy Hub, served for seven years as executive director of the Hawaii Health Information Exchange and seven years as a director with the nonprofit Hawaii Primary Care Association.

A bill approved by Hawaii lawmakers last May, which now awaits Green’s signature, would redirect the CIO to report to Hawaii’s comptroller instead of its governor. In Hawaii, the CIO leads the Office of Enterprise Technology Services, housed within the Department of Accounting and General Services, which is also home to the state comptroller.

Murdock opposed the legislation, arguing that the bill would reduce the CIO’s autonomy and authority.

“Dual-hatting the CIO to deputy director under the Comptroller would diminish the authority and independence of ETS and the CIO,” Murdock wrote in testimony to the House Committee on Labor and Government Operations last March. “It could also lead to the CIO being assigned to projects unrelated to ETS’ statutory mission.”

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