Two and a half years after being sworn in as the nation's first Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra is stepping down. Politco first reported a rumor, which was confirmed by the White House this afternoon. Chopra's last day will be February 8th. No reason was given for his departure, but the Washington Post reports that he's heading back to Virginia (where he served as Secretary of Technology) to possibly run for Lieutenant Governor and pursue a political career. Chopra didn't confirm or deny that in an email response, where he thanked President Obama for his chance in the spotlight:
After an incredible three years as the nation’s first chief technology officer, I am returning to my home state of Virginia to continue my work using innovative new technologies and platforms to improve healthcare, education and energy – and to grow the jobs and industries of the future. I want to thank the President for entrusting me with the task of fostering an innovation culture in government, and for his direction, engagement, and leadership on applying technology for the betterment of all Americans.
President Obama thanked him right back:
As the federal government’s first Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra did groundbreaking work to bring our government into the 21st century. Aneesh found countless ways to engage the American people using technology, from electronic health records for veterans, to expanding access to broadband for rural communities, to modernizing government records. His legacy of leadership and innovation will benefit Americans for years to come, and I thank him for his outstanding service.
With only two and a half years in office, it's hard to say how much Chopra directly accomplished as CTO and / or how much of a foundation he created for the next person to take the job, but Obama's White House is definitely one of the most technology friendly we've seen, recently hanging out on Google+, joining Instagram, pushing for nationwide high-speed wireless and public safety networks, and speaking out against SOPA. Some of the credit can be laid at this man's feet.