Illinois Chief Information Officer Ron Guerrier stepped down Friday after 18 months with the state government, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.
In a string of tweets, Pritzker, who appointed Guerrier as his CIO and secretary of the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology shortly after his January 2019 inauguration, said Guerrier had received a job offer from another, unnamed organization.
“Secretary Guerrier is an incredible public servant whose passion for innovation and technology has benefited Illinois residents tremendously — particularly as he shepherded the move to an enterprise system that will transform our ability to deliver services,” Pritzker wrote. “With an impressive track record that includes leadership positions at major companies across the country, it comes as no surprise that he has received an offer to bring his skills to another organization.”
Guerrier confirmed his departure with a note on his LinkedIn page, referencing his initiatives related to broadband expansion, modernization of legacy IT systems, STEM education and the sudden transformation to a remote state workforce during the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed about 8,400 Illinois residents.
“With blueprint in hand, leadership in place, and dedicated resources, the positive momentum will continue as I move onto my next chapter,” Guerrier wrote.
The role of Illinois’ statewide IT chief was the first public-service gig for Guerrier after a career as a CIO for several major corporations, including Toyota North America and Farmers Insurance Group. He came into the role with a “back to basics” approach, which he defined as scaling back some of the more experimental initiatives of his predecessors — such as incorporating blockchain into government transactions — and using his department’s limited budget to focus on core IT functions.
Guerrier also mentioned an increased use of robotic process automation, which has accelerated for some states during the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic also led Illinois to revamp its identity and access management policies, he said, after the number of state employees working remotely exploded from about 2,000 to nearly 50,000.
“Your risk profile completely expands to you trusting ‘everyone’s in our office, you control that environment,’ to ‘I am working from my home, in the basement of my home, wherever that is’ and knowing exactly who are on our network is extremely important,” Guerrier said during a recent Scoop News Group event.
Guerrier also used his position in state government to bridge IT policy with world events, particularly earlier this summer after the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd led him to reflect on his experience as a Black man navigating a largely white tech industry, and talk about pursuing a broad IT agenda aimed at promoting equity around the state.
“I take this really personally, and I think we in state government should be able to find solutions. We should always be at the table, putting our nose in it, saying, ‘What about tech?'” he told StateScoop in June.
Guerrier could not be immediately reached for comment about his exit from DoIT. Deputy CIO Jennifer Ricker, who was hired in February, was named as acting CIO and director of the department, Pritzker’s office said.