Under the Dome

NC's cabinet-level IT chief will return to private sector

Chris Estes will leave the new cabinet-level department of information technology that he was sworn in to lead just a little more than a month ago.

Estes will return to the private sector, the governor’s office announced Monday.

He has been the state chief information officer since the McCrory administration took over in January 2013, and retained that job title when the governor elevated the Office of Information Technology to a cabinet department last month.

The elevated status reflected Gov. Pat McCrory’s plan to revamp outdated and uncoordinated computer systems across state government. Estes was about to embark on a massive overhaul, aided by funding the legislature provided in the current budget.

Deputy Chief Information Officer Keith Werner will run the department in the immediate future.

Estes will return to the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he had worked in the early 2000s.

“Chris has been instrumental in modernizing the state’s information technology operations,” McCrory said in a statement his office released. “Not only has he saved the taxpayers millions of dollars, the customer-first attitude he brought from his private sector experience has made it easier for individual citizens and small business owners to interact and do business with state government.”