Attanasio quits Customs as CIO role abolished

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joe-attanasio

news The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has revealed plans to abolish its chief information officer role in the wake of the resignation of its incumbent CIO Joe Attanasio from the position in late November last year.

Last month the agency advertised for a new chief technology officer to ensure its strategic IT vision is aligned with its business operations; but it wasn’t immediately clear how the new CTO would fit in with the company’s existing chief information officer position, held by Joe Attanasio since April 2009 after the executive migrated from the ANZ Bank to take up the post.

In a statement issued this week, the agency confirmed that Attanasio had resigned from Customs on 22 November last year, and that his role would be abolished in the wake of his departure. “The chief information and knowledge officer role, currently being filled on an acting basis by [deputy CIO] Megan Kelly, will be discontinued,” a spokesperson for the agency said. “In its place, the new position of chief technology officer (CTO), an SES Band 2 role, has been created.”

“The CTO will have a strong delivery focus and will partner with the business, portfolio agencies, vendors and external stakeholders to ensure the IT vision is strategically aligned to that of Customs and Border Protection. Their mandate will be the timely, efficient and effective delivery of enterprise systems and service and performance objectives. They will be accountable for ensuring the information and data integrity of the agency’s enterprise systems and for all associated functions including computer systems, supporting infrastructure, communications networks (voice and data) and the IT service desk.”

That position which the CTO will report to — National Director of Support at Customs — is also a newly formed role, and has not yet been filled, as it is also currently advertised on the APSJobs site. That position reports to the Deputy CEO of Customs (Maritime, Corporate and Intelligence).

The job ad for the National Director of Support states: “NDS will have responsibilty for plans and polices related to many of the enterprise wide support services necessary for Customs and Border Protection to carry out its border protection role and for delivery of those services. This includes: people management and services (workforce planning, recruitment, performance management, workplace health and safety, mobility and career management and learning and develop), national pay and accounts services, IT services delivery and projects and property and facilities management.”

There is also another related role, National Director of Intelligence. “As Customs and Border Protection faces the challenge of ever increasing volumes of international passengers and goods crossing the border and increasingly sophisticated criminal activity, the NDI will have the key responsibility of integrating and enhancing the agency’s intelligence and information management capability to support our strategic, intelligence-led, risk based approach to border management,” the site states.

“Although not a designated position, the NDI will also perform the role of strategic Information Officer and for the first time will also be responsible for integrating the agency’s existing intelligence and analytics capability with it’s information management capability. In part, resources to support these activities will transition from the current Information Technology Division.”


Update: After this article was published, Customs issued the following statement. Note: I have corrected this article and an earlier article which incorrectly reported that the new CTO would report to the National Director of Intelligence. In fact, the new CTO will report to the National Director of Support.

  • Mr Attanasio’s departure is not related to the recent announcement of a restructure of Customs and Border Protection IT functions.
  • Mr Attanasio is currently on leave and has indicated he will leave Customs and Border Protection for personal reasons when his current contract expires.
  • Customs and Border Protection took the opportunity afforded by Mr Attansio’s departure, and a range of other internal changes, to recruit a new CTO.
  • The CTO will report to the National Director of Support Division, not the National Director of Intelligence as reported online in today’s article.
  • Support Division will deliver enterprise wide support services necessary for Customs and Border Protection to carry out its border protection role and for delivery of those services.
  • These functions include: people management and services (workforce planning, recruitment, performance management, workplace health and safety, mobility and career management and learning and develop), national pay and accounts services, IT services delivery and facilities management.

opinion/analysis
To be honest I’m not 100 percent sure on what’s going on here, although it appears as though, as I wrote last week, there’s an executive restructure going on at Customs that is seeing the group’s IT department move away from the pure play IT function which a CIO represents and towards aligning more with the business. “Information management” is indeed key for a major border protection agency like Customs. In any case, it will be interesting to see what kind of executive Customs appoints in the new CTO role. I’m not sure to what extent Attanasio resigned as a result of the restructuring going on, or whether it’s happening purely after he resigned etc.

Image credit: Customs

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