Defence appoints Mohan as new CTO


news The Department of Defence has appointed a new chief technology officer, nicking senior Toll IT executive Aiyaswami Mohan to replace its previous CTO Matt Yannopoulous, who left in October last year to take up the role of chief information officer at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Not much information is available online about Mohan, but the executive appears to have most recently held a position as general manager of Strategy & Architecture at integrated logistics company Toll Group. “Mr Aiyaswami Mohan has been appointed the position of Chief Technology Officer within the Chief Information Officer Group,” a spokesperson for Defence said this week. “Mohan will commence in the Chief Technology Officer position on 11 June 2014.”

The previous CTO of Defence was Matt Yannopoulous, who in the role led a group of 400 staff, setting IT strategy and architecture alongside overseeing some of Australia’s largest technology contracts. However, Yannopoulous resigned in August last year and joined the Department of Immigration and Border Protection as its chief information officer.

Defence only advertised the CTO role in February this year. At the time, the department said the CTO would would be “be responsible for strategic guidance and technical direction for Defence ICT and ensuring appropriate commercial arrangements are in place”. It added: “Specifically you will also have responsibility for: Defence ICT Strategy; Defence Enterprise Architecture; Defence ICT Security, and; Group Commercial functions within CIOG.”

“To be a strong contender for this role, you will need to have extensive experience in the ICT industry, especially managing and delivering ICT strategy, architecture and direction in a large, complex and diverse organisation. You will have strong awareness and understanding of information security and ideally been directly involved in, or lead an information security function during your career. In addition, an awareness of new and emerging technologies and their applicability to Defence will be critical to be successful in the role. You will also have strong verbal communication skills and demonstrated ability as a persuasive leader to communicate highly technical information to non-technical senior Defence executives.”

The news comes as reports over the past several years have made it clear that Defence is currently engaged in a number of major ICT projects that contain a high degree of risk. For example, in December 2011 the Federal Government’s chief auditor warned that the Department of Defence’s ICT operation was teetering on the brink of a dangerous precipice, in a landmark report published at that stage into its current ICT governance structures and projects.

It’s unusual that we see an IT executive appointed to such a senior position in the Federal Government without much information being already available about that executive. Certainly the Defence CTO role is a high-profile one and one that requires a great deal of experience, insight and patience. I wish Mohan the best of luck in the position and look forward to learning more about his approach to it as time goes on.