Search finally begins for new defence CIO

Executive search goes international

The Department of Defence (DoD) has finally engaged a recruitment firm to begin the search for a new Chief Information Officer (CIO).

A defence spokesperson confirmed advertisements for the position will appear in the next two weeks to replace former CIO air vice-marshal John Monaghan.

The new CIO will be in charge of a complete overhaul of the department's IT systems which is one of the most complex in the country.

Monaghan's resigned in March this year after being appointed in December, 2004.

The department's head of information systems Peter Lambert has been acting in the role and will resume his previous duties once the position is filled.

A spokesperson for the department threw cold water on media reports it is delaying the recruitment of a new CIO, claiming it is concentrating on articulating job requirements to source an adept replacement.

"The process for recruiting a defence CIO is in its early stages, [however] the department is not delaying the appointment," the spokesperson said.

"The CIO is a critical position within defence and the department is focused on ensuring the role and critical skill requirements of the position are adequately defined.

"To that end, defence has selected an international executive search company to conduct an extensive search of the private and public sectors for suitable candidates."

However, the department may struggle to compete with $1 million-plus remuneration packages offered widely throughout the private sector.

The CEO of executive recruitment firm Heritage Recruitment, Graham Smith, said it would look "professionally ridiculous" if a private company tried to operate without a CIO for the long period that the department operated before beginning their search for a replacement.

"No organization can be rudderless for that period of time and expect to succeed," Smith said.

"A CIO [at the DoD] who does not rock the boat but holds the line is not necessarily the best way forward - you need someone who will stretch corporate values, not the old grey suit brigade."

Meanwhile, the department's troubled Oracle HR and payroll system is set for a $100 million upgrade by next year which will see Oracle and rival SAP competing for the deal at the end of this year.

According to a department spokesperson, the upgrade will follow a revitalized project plan under which contract discussions with Oracle were terminated.

A DoD spokesperson said its two-tier approval process will not draw-out the upgrade and is in place to solidify KPIs and project prioritization.

According to the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) the project exceeded its budget by $26 million and was three years late.

The total cost to defence to bring PMKeyS into service, including the production support costs during the roll-out period was estimated to be at least $131 million, which exceeded the department's 1998 estimate of $103.5 million.

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