Indian quits White House for Minnesota Cabinet | india | Hindustan Times
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Indian quits White House for Minnesota Cabinet

Gopal Khanna is the first NRI to be appointed to such a top position in the State, reports Lalit K Jha.

india Updated: Aug 27, 2005 13:42 IST

Gopal Khanna has quit an important high-level job at the White House for a Cabinet post in Minnesota, the first Indo-American to be appointed to such a top position in the State.

Khanna has been appointed by Governor Tim Pawlenty as head of the newly-created Office of Enterprise Technology with effect from August 15.

Announcing Khanna's appointment in his State Cabinet, Pawlenty said: "By creating this Commissioner-level Cabinet position and with Gopal's exceptional leadership, we are now ready to take next steps to more strategically employ technology across all of state government."

Khanna, 55, was appointed to the prestigious post of the Chief Financial Officer of White House three months ago. This was the first high-level Indo-American appointment in the second term of Bush administration.

However, he chose to quit the prestigious White House job for a more challenging task in the role of Chief Information Officer of Minnesota -- a Cabinet-level position.

Position of State Chief Information Officer has been created to provide leadership for the Government's information and telecommunications technology resources and policies, as well as to have a member of the Minnesota Cabinet to serve as principal technology advisor to the Governor.

Khanna said he decided to quit White House and opt for Minnesota job as he was convinced that Pawlenty was very serious about goals and ambitions of the Drive to Excellence and he intends to move expeditiously towards their implementation.

He said Governor Pawlenty has set before him the vision to improve government service through cost-effective use of technology.

"I feel honoured and humbled to have this opportunity to serve my State, and am looking forward to working with my colleagues to further Governor's reform agenda," he said.

Taking charge of the Office of Enterprise Technology, he said his role primarily would be that of a facilitator both outside of the agency and within.

Khanna said, the ultimate honour one can have in life is to serve the country and one's State. "I already had privilege to serve my country, first as CIO and CFO of Peace Corps and most recently in Washington, as Chief Financial Officer of Executive Office of the President/Office of Administration. Now, I have the opportunity to come home and serve my home State of Minnesota," he said.

As CIO and CFO of Peace Corps, Khanna was responsible for successful implementation of standardised computing platform for the agency's 72 posts worldwide; design and implementation of an enterprise architecture program which serves as the framework for the agency's systems modernisation strategy; and transformation of financial management systems.

Prior to his service in the Bush administration, Khanna was in the private sector where he held several senior executive positions in IT, operations, and management consulting. He has a BA in Economics, Mathematics, and Political Science from Christ Church College in Kanpur and holds an MBA from the University of Maine.

A staunch Republican Party activist, Khanna had been an elected delegate and alternate delegate on two occasions from Minnesota to the party's National Conventions.

Considered to be an active community leader, Khanna was one of the founding members of the Indian-American Forum for Political Education. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hindu Society of Minnesota.