CIO at State Agency Set to Retire; Acting Successor Named

A longtime official at a linchpin state agency will retire next month after holding its top technology job for more than two years. A search for his successor has not yet been announced, but in the interim, another IT official within will serve as acting CIO.

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The IT leader at California’s tax agency will end a lengthy state career at the end of next month.

Kem Musgrove, the chief information officer for the Franchise Tax Board, will retire Aug. 31 after more than two decades at the agency, an official confirmed to Techwire.

Musgrove, who announced his impending retirement in late June, joined FTB in April 2000 as director of its Operations Management Bureau, a Career Executive Assignment, and served in that capacity for more than 12 years. He became director and chief technologist for Operations and Infrastructure Services in July 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile; and was named CIO and chief of its Technology Services Division in May 2018. Before joining the state, Musgrove was part of the 349th Communications Squadron in the U.S. Air Force Reserve for seven years.

In a statement provided to Techwire, Musgrove thanked the California Government Operations Agency, the California Department of Technology and the California Department of Finance “for their continued partnership” in making FTB tech endeavors a success.

“I would also like to thank (FTB Executive Officer) Selvi Stanislaus and FTB’s executive management team for their tremendous support and leadership during my career,” Musgrove said via email. “And lastly, to FTB’s Technology team for the dedication, hard work, strategic thinking and enterprise approach to IT and the services they provide to California’s citizens.”

It’s unclear when FTB will mount a search for his replacement, but in the interim, John Sulenta, its chief technology officer over Application Development and Operations, will serve as acting CIO and Technology Services Division Chief effective Sept. 1. When that happens, FTB, which has had two CTOs – Marlene White in planning and Sulenta in development and operations – will cut back to a single CTO role that White will fill, Denise Azimi, FTB spokesperson, told Techwire via email. Sulenta has been CTO at FTB for five years, Azimi said, and has maintained technologies and processes to provide “optimum support” for its programs and operations.

“In conjunction with the CIO and other senior IT managers, he ensured the necessary policies were developed and implemented,” Azimi said. “He worked with his staff to ensure systems are stable and well-functioning and that new solutions were designed and developed in accordance with IT architectural principles and policies and industry and statewide best practices.”

Sulenta looks forward to working with “our IT teams, business partners, FTB senior management, and solution providers to build upon the strong foundation laid by Kem,” he said in a statement.

“I’m convinced the technology and process improvements made over the last few years have put FTB’s IT organization in a strong position to respond to current and future challenges and opportunities,” he said. “I’m excited to be in a position to help lead change that will have a positive effect on the taxpayers and citizens of the state.”

Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.