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Ministry of Defence announces new CIO

Former Prudential and BP CIO Charles Forte takes over as IT chief for the UK's armed forces

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced the appointment of Charles Forte as its new CIO, replacing Mike Stone, who left in March 2017.

Forte most recently spent six months as interim CIO at Thames Water. Previously, he was CEO of group IT services at Prudential from March 2015 to the end of 2016, and before that, deputy group CIO and CIO of global operations at BP – as well as spending time as an independent consultant.

Lieutenant general Ivan Hooper has been acting as CEO of MoD’s Information Systems & Services unit and defence CIO, but hands over the CIO role to Forte at the end of this month.

“Forte will be responsible for the development of MoD strategy and policy on the operation and protection of all MoD information and communications technology, including cyber security,” said a statement from MoD.

His predecessor Stone left MoD at the end of March 2017, less than three years after taking up the role in May 2014. He was brought in at that time to replace an interim CIO, Yvonne Ferguson, causing some controversy because he was initially hired on secondment from his job as CEO of Defence Business Services, an outsourced contract from Serco providing corporate services to the MoD.

During Stone’s tenure, he introduced the MoD’s new IT strategy, dubbed “defence as a platform”. In 2015, he also renegotiated the department’s long-term outsourcing deal with a consortium led by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) contract, which had been in place for more than 10 years.

In 2015, he also struck a £550m deal with Fujitsu to provide global connectivity services for the next five years, with the aim of increasing bandwidth on the MoD’s wide area network 40-fold.

Forte is the second new CIO in a major government department in recent months, following Jacky Wright who started at HM Revenue & Customs in October 2017.

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