Mayor Catherine Pugh announced a new hire Wednesday for the city’s top tech job.
Frank Johnson will lead the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology, serving as Chief Information Officer and Chief Digital Officer.
Johnson, a Johns Hopkins alum, comes to the role from the private sector. He is tasked with leading efforts to modernize IT and tech capabilities at the city government. He has prior experience with such efforts at large companies. Johnson’s LinkedIn page states that he previously worked at Intel.
At a news conference with the mayor, he talked about the importance of city leaders being willing to implement new technology. Johnson also said it is important to engage with the startup community, local businesses, universities and other communities.
“I absolutely will standardize and modernize the infrastructure here in the city,” he said.
Johnson enters an office that has seen a lot of turnover at the top, with four leaders since 2012. While her administration made some early changes such as putting the permitting system online, Pugh has lamented the state of the city’s technology as outdated, and said MOIT needs to be scrubbed.
“I want us to be a smart city but it certainly starts with the kind of technology that we implement,” Pugh said. “I think having someone like Frank Johnson with experience in the private sector is going to make a difference as well. Sometimes you have to look outside [government] to bring the right people inside to make the changes that you want.”