The federal government has finally found a permanent chief executive for its Digital Transformation Agency, appointing National Australia Bank executive Gavin Slater to the role.
Slater spent seven years in the leadership group at NAB before a management restructure that prompted his redundancy in July last year.
Assistant minister for digital transformation Angus Taylor said that Slater, with experience as CFO, COO and personal banking head, had a “proven track record” in driving digital transformation at the bank, which would serve him well in the new role.
“He well understands the challenges faced by government agencies as they seek to transform their own services to better meet the needs of users,” said Taylor.
“His experience will be invaluable as we move forward with whole-of-government improvements in digital delivery, a review of all major IT projects across government, as well as significant changes in the way we procure ICT services.”
The new recruit, who was also once a corporal in the South African defence force, takes over on May 1 from Nerida O’Loughlin, who had been acting in an interim capacity since October last year when the agency was reformed out of the old Digital Transformation Office led by Paul Shetler.
The change from an “office” to an “agency” was accompanied by an adjustment in function for the organisation, going from a hands-on digital implementer to a standards overseer.
“The DTO was there to be a disruptor, to think about things differently, and to go into agencies and challenge them,” DTA chief executive Nerida O’Loughlin told a senate committee last month. “It was quite different to my role and the role I see for [DTA].”
Last month Taylor defended the DTA’s shrunken remit, saying at a media event the tech agency should never have had its original broad-ranging powers.
“The idea that it should take everything over was wrong,” he said at the event in the Blue Mountains, citing that the UK had also moved away from that model.
“If you’re an IT provider, you are not the ultimate one accountable to the customer. You have to work with whoever is ultimately accountable to the customer – citizens and businesses in our case.”
Taylor today thanked O’Loughlin for taking the organisation through the transition.