Another 72 apply for government CTO role

Communications Minister Clare Curran hopes to have a government chief technology officer appointed by August.

Communications Minister Clare Curran says another 72 people have applied for the new position of government chief technology officer.

Ms Curran told a select committee that the $500,000 role, which will report to the prime minister, should be filled by early August.

The role was first advertised in December but the minister shocked the industry on February 12 when she announced that none of the 60 applicants had made the cut.

A new wider search was initiated, with many seeing "wider" as code for "offshore." Commentator Ian Apperley said the new ad instantly turned up on international networks.

Meanwhile, the latest minutes from Ms Curran's Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion Advisory Group, for a May 30 meeting, have shone a new light on the extended recruitment process.

They show that panellist Victoria MacLennan asked Ms Curran if a group of people could fill the role, rather than a single person.

Ms Curran said that approach had been considered. However, as the CTO role is designed to be inspirational and influential, it is more suited to a single individual, she said. "The CTO will require charisma to bring people on a journey."

The minister also said she is keen to "tease out more ideas" with the group on the CTO role, and reiterated that the CTO would be working closely with the group. 

The government CTO will advise on technology developments and strategy, complementing the chief digital officer (a role from which Colin MacDonald has just resigned).

National has labelled the hiring process "a right mess."

Mr Apperley says the government already has a solid digital strategy. He sees a CTO as surplus to requirements.

The advisory group's minutes also show the panel breaking new ground in politically correct language and corporate jargon, with three members given the task of "developing a strawperson Blueprint for Digital Inclusion."

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