Sebelius’ chief tech officer leaving, first major departure

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Kathleen Sebelius

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The official in charge of technology at the federal agency that developed the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov website is leaving the government for a private sector job, according to an internal email announcement.

The email, sent Tuesday to staff at the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, announced that Chief Information Officer Tony Trenkle would be retiring effective November 15.

“As the CIO, Tony provided oversight and leadership to CMS’ 2 billion dollar annual expenditures on Information Technology (IT) products and services,” CMS Chief Operating Officer Michelle Snyder wrote.

Despite numerous calls for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign or be fired in the wake of the online insurance exchange’s troubled launch, Trenkle’s departure is the first since the program went live on October 1.

Asked if Trenkle was being pushed out due to his role in the site’s development, CMS communications director Julie Bataille declined to elaborate.

“Tony made a decision that he was going to move to the private sector and that is what our COO announced yesterday,” Bataille told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.

The email informed staff that in the short term, Trenkle’s position will be filled internally. Dave Nelson, the current director of the Office of Enterprise Management, will serve as acting CIO following Trenkle’s departure.

“Given the importance of the IT portfolio here we’ve moved quickly to fill this position with another internal staff member who has vast experience and knowledge of the IT issue,” Bataille said.

Director of the Office of Information Products and Data Analytics Niall Brennan will replace Nelson as acting head of OEM.