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Newsom Names New Deputy State Chief Information Officer

The appointment of a successor to Russ Nichols was among several key appointments announced Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The California capitol building at sunset.
This article was updated Friday to include a comment from state CIO Liana Bailey-Crimmins, director of the California Department of Technology.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday filled a key opening in state technology leadership with the appointment of a new deputy state chief information officer.

A veteran of more than 20 years’ service in state government, Jared C. Johnson, will hold the dual role of deputy state CIO and chief deputy director of the California Department of Technology.

Jared Johnson.
Jared Johnson
Johnson, 46, joins a leadership team led by state CIO and CDT Director Liana Bailey-Crimmins. He succeeds Russ Nichols, who retired in November after serving as deputy state CIO and acting state CIO before Bailey-Crimmins’ appointment in June. Nichols was the award-winning agency chief information officer for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation before his elevation to the CDT role in March 2021.

Bailey-Crimmins said in a statement to Industry Insider — California: “Jared has worked his way through the state IT ranks, which gives him a wealth of technical and administrative knowledge. I’ll count on him to help guide CDT program areas as we optimize operations and enhance our statewide service model.”

Johnson had served as deputy director of CDT’s Data Center Support Services since 2021. Previously, he held several positions at the California Franchise Tax Board from 2005 to 2021, including as director of the Operations Management Bureau, section manager for IT Service Support and Data Processing Services, senior manager of the Data Processing Services Section, manager of the Command Center, and lead for eService Infrastructure Support.

Johnson was supervisor of the IT Business and Support Services Unit at the Department of Pesticide Regulation from 2003 to 2005. He was a system test analyst on the INC Project at the California Franchise Tax Board from 2005 to 2006. Before that, he was an IT analyst for what was then the California Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency from 1999 to 2003.

The appointment does not require Senate confirmation, and the annual salary is $198,000.

In addition to Johnson’s promotion, Newsom’s office also announced appointments in the California Government Operations Agency (GovOps), CDT’s parent organization:

  • Christina Spagnoli, 41, of Fair Oaks has been appointed senior adviser at GovOps, where she has served as deputy secretary of legislation since 2019. Spagnoli was vice president of State Government Relations at the California Bankers Association from 2018 to 2019. She was capitol director for Assemblymember Blanca Rubio from 2016 to 2018, chief lobbyist and legislative director for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California from 2014 to 2016, and legislative director in the office of Assembly Majority Whip Jimmy Gomez from 2013 to 2014. She held several other legislative roles before that.
  • Luis Larios, 32, of Sacramento has been appointed GovOps’ deputy secretary of Legislation and External Affairs after serving as a deputy appointments secretary for Newsom since 2020. He was a senior assistant to Assemblymember Miguel Santiago from 2019 to 2020 and a legislative aide for Assemblymember Mike Gipson from 2017 to 2019, in addition to several previous legislative roles.
  • Sergio Gutierrez, 47, of Wilton has been appointed chief deputy director in the Office of Data and Innovation (ODI). Gutierrez had been agency chief information officer at the California Environmental Protection Agency since 2010 and acting deputy director and CIO at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control from 2012 to 2013. Before that, Gutierrez was chief of the Statewide Network Support Bureau at the California Department of Insurance from 2007 to 2010, among other previous roles.
  • Kimberly Hicks, 40, of Fairfax has been appointed deputy director of Advanced Analytics and Evaluation for ODI. Hicks has served on the math faculty at the City College of San Francisco since 2022 and has been a data scientist at Marin Data Science Consultants and the city and county of San Francisco. Hicks worked in the private sector before her work in government.
Dennis Noone is Executive Editor of Industry Insider. He is a career journalist, having worked at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies including USA Today in Washington, D.C.