Chicago's chief technology officer stepping down [Chicago Tribune]
(Chicago Tribune (IL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 22--John Tolva, the former IBM executive who was the city of Chicago's first chief technology officer, is leaving at month-end to rejoin the private sector.
Tolva joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration in spring 2011 and spearheaded many of the mayor's tech-related efforts, such as recruiting startups to the area and encouraging civic-minded developers to build mobile and Web applications based on data furnished by city agencies. Last month, he introduced the Chicago Tech Plan, which grouped 28 technology initiatives under one umbrella. These efforts include making low-cost broadband service more available to city residents and building out a superhigh-speed "gigabit" network for business users in 15 commercial corridors.
"The mayor has a very ambitious vision to make Chicago a leader in the tech economy (and) in the world of technology," Tom Alexander, a spokesman for the mayor's office, said. "John's been an important part of implementing that vision. Things like the citywide technology plan are real steps forward in that regard."
In an email, Tolva said he'll be working as an adviser to Chicago-based investment firm Pritzker Group, founded by brothers J.B. and Tony Pritzker. The Pritzker Group's venture capital arm recently expanded its focus from early-stage startups to later-stage growth companies and announced Tuesday a $45 million investment in Chicago-based tech firm SMS Assist. Tolva will be teaching at Starter School, a local program that provides training on Web development, programming and entrepreneurship. He will also be working with Code for America, a non-profit organization that connects programmers and Web designers with cities to tackle civic issues.
Before becoming Chicago's CTO, Tolva had been director of citizenship and technology for IBM.
Alexander said there is no "active search" for a new CTO at this time.
Tolva "just announced that he's leaving, so we're going to evaluate, like we would do with any position, how we're going to fill that role and continue that mission," he said.
Crain's Chicago Business first reported Tolva's move.
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