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Ministry of Defence CIO Mike Stone set to leave in early 2017

Ministry of Defence IT chief will depart in March next year, becoming the latest of several high-profile government technology leaders to quit

Ministry of Defence (MoD) CIO Mike Stone is set to become the latest senior IT leader to leave the government.

Stone will leave the 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”. Last year, 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 has been in place for more than 10 years.

“In the area of the DII, I decided soon after I arrived that we needed to completely renegotiate it as it wasn’t fit for purpose,” he said at the time.

“We started [negotiations] in October 2014 and we completed it on 1 July 2015 when we signed the contract, which shows you can do things at pace if you really set about it.”

Stone 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.

In September this year, he announced that the MoD was to become one of the first customers of Microsoft’s new UK-based Azure cloud datacentre, which he described as “a full-blown leap into the cloud”.

Stone said the MoD’s Azure cloud would enable it to share core IT infrastructure across all elements of defence and would be able to connect to the public cloud and Amazon Web Services.

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In an interview with Computer Weekly last month, Stone explained the thinking behind his strategy for MoD technology.

“What we have sought to do is shift the organisation from vertically integrated end-to-end systems – which had their own compute – to a core common computing platform,” he said. “We want to radically reduce system integrator lock-in so we can transition easily.”

The government has seen a number of digital and technology leaders quit in recent months. Mark Dearnley, Arif Harbott and Norm Driskell left HM Revenue & Customs, the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office, respectively.

In August, the Government Digital Service (GDS) lost executive director Stephen Foreshew-Cain as well as Janet Hughes, director of the Verify identity assurance programme and head of strategy, policy and departmental engagement at GDS. And earlier this month, GDS director of data Paul Maltby also announced his forthcoming departure.

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