Former whole of Qld Govt CIO Grant resigns



news High-flying IT executive Peter Grant has left his senior position in the Queensland State Government, a year after the state demoted him from the whole of government chief information officer role he had held for the second time.


Grant was appointed as whole of government CIO by the previous Bligh Labor Government in late November 2011, with the Premier at the time flagging plans to significantly expand the powers of the role as the state grappled with a series of expensive IT disasters, such as the Queensland Health payroll fiasco. Grant previously held the role from 2005 through 2008, after a lengthy career in the technology industry that had included a short stint as the CIO of Queensland Health, three years as a consultant and other periods as a vice president with analyst firm Gartner and time as the Director of IT at Queensland Transport.

However, he exited the role unexpectedly in December 2007, accepting a role as the state director for software giant Microsoft. That role lasted little over a year; following that Grant worked as a consultant for analyst firm Intelligent Business Research Services, as well as holding posts as a professor of Information Systems at the University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology.

In May 2013 Andrew Garner, Director-General of Queensland’s Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts, informed staff that he would “remove” Grant from the role, effectively immediately. A spokesperson for Queensland IT Minister Ian Walker — a new appointment to the role himself — confirmed at the time Delimiter that Grant was shifting positions. It was subsequently revealed that Grant had been placed in charge of Queensland’s One Network initiative.

As first reported by iTNews, it appears that Grant has now exited the Queensland Government again. The executive’s LinkedIn profile states that he is now working for a firm named VSS Consulting, in a position as an executive coach, “on ‘interesting’ consulting assignments and providing advice to a number of advisory boards”. He also still holds an adjunct professor position at the University of Queensland. It appears his Queensland Government role ended in March.

The Queensland Government has suffered a number of major IT headaches over the past several years which has led to a question as to whether the state fundamentally has the capability of delivering basic IT service and project outcomes.

In June last year, for example, the state’s first comprehensive ICT Audit found ninety percent of the Queensland Government’s ICT systems were outdated and would require replacement within five years at a total cost of $7.4 billion, as Queensland continues to grapple with the catastrophic outcome of years of “chronic underfunding” into its dilapidated ICT infrastructure.

And in that same month, the state was forced to allocate a further $384 million, for a total of $1.25 billion, to the botched Queensland Health payroll upgrade initiative, which has resulted in thousands of public servants being underpaid, overpaid, or not paid at all. The system is still not fully functional, the debacle has resulted in prime contractor IBM being banned from winning further IT contracts in the state.

Grant is not the only senior IT executive to leave the Queensland Government over the past month or so. In early March it was revealed that Queensland-based software vendor Technology One had poached Glenn Walker, the executive in charge of the state government’s IT renewal program to become a business development executive, in a move that will further stimulate ongoing questions about the close relationship between the state’s public sector and its IT vendors.

Much of the responsibility for cleaning up the state’s mess will now rest on the shoulders of Andrew Mills, the state’s new whole of government chief information officer, who Queensland poached from a similar role in South Australia late last year.

Image credit: Pearcey Foundation