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NEW YORK — Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that Rahul N. Merchant will serve as New York City’s first Citywide Chief Information and Innovation Officer and as Commissioner of the Department of Information, Technology and Telecommunications. As Chief Information and Innovation Officer, Merchant will report directly to Mayor Bloomberg and will oversee the City’s information technology development and management across all City agencies, with a focus on delivering technology projects on-time and on-budget. He will create a new Center of Excellence to standardize business processes for the implementation of large technology projects, institute a system of vendor evaluation to hold contractors accountable for meeting project milestones, and update the City’s technology contracts to focus on the delivery of established milestones to meet agency business needs. Mr. Merchant has been a leader in innovation in the financial services sector, with more than 25 years of experience as an Information Technology executive, as a private equity partner and as someone who has built, reformed and overseen major IT operations and helped companies streamline and innovate using technology. As Commissioner of the Department of Information, Technology and Telecommunications, he will succeed Carole Post, who announced she will be leaving City government for a position at New York Law School.
“By bringing the City’s IT infrastructure and development under one office, we can ensure we are using best practices across agencies, leveraging the City’s enormous IT infrastructure to our maximum advantage and holding contractors accountable for delivering results,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Rahul is a seasoned executive who has proven himself time and again as a leader and an innovator in the industry. He is going to do an outstanding job as New York City’s first Chief Information and Innovation Officer and we are excited to add him to our talented team.”
“I jumped at the opportunity to work for Mayor Bloomberg, who has been a leader in technology and innovation for more than 30 years,” said Merchant. “The Mayor has charged me with continuing the customer-service revolution that his administration has brought to New York City – leveraging technology to give New Yorkers unprecedented access to City services and transparency to government operations. As a first generation immigrant from India, I landed in New York 32 years ago in search of education and opportunity and I found them both. It is an honor to be given the chance to give back to the city where it all began for me.”
As Chief Information and Innovation Officer, Mr. Merchant will be responsible for the City’s IT infrastructure, as well as oversight of the implementation of key technology initiatives that enable City agencies to serve 8.4 million New Yorkers, and reach millions more worldwide. He will lead a Center of Excellence that will standardize business processes for the implementation of large technology projects, from the development of business cases to support major IT investments, to the composition of project teams and vendors with the expertise to deliver products that meet agency and Citywide business needs.
Merchant will work closely with agency Commissioners and Chief Information Officers to ensure that IT projects leverage existing infrastructure and software to the maximum possible extent, and that the City’s overall IT budget meets core agency business needs and the City’s overall technology objectives. He will spearhead the City’s efforts to remain a leader in technology innovation, by leveraging City’s enormous technology assets and partnerships with academic institutions, technology firms, and entrepreneurs.
As Commissioner of Department of Information, Technology and Telecommunications, Merchant will lead a 1,200-person staff responsible for managing the City’s information technology infrastructure and serving the information technology needs of 45 Mayoral agencies, dozens of other governmental entities, and nearly 300,000 employees. He will build on Commissioner Carole Post’s successful efforts to expand broadband access into underserved neighborhoods, increase transparency through the agency’s open data programs and advance opportunities to use the City’s wireless network – NYCWiN – to improve and streamline agency operations.
Merchant served as the Chief Technology Officer for Merrill Lynch where he led the company’s efforts to rebuild its worldwide IT operations following the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and consolidated the company’s global IT functions and implemented complex technology systems in the area of capital markets, wealth management, and risk-management for global banking operations. After leaving Merrill Lynch in 2006, he served as Chief Information and Operations Officer for Fannie Mae for three years, where he streamlined the company’s complex infrastructure and operations groups. He joins the City from his role as a partner at Exigen Capital, a private equity firm, where he led the firm’s technology investments.
Earlier in his career, he worked for a number of financial services and technology firms in leadership positions, including Dresdner Kleinwort Benson as Executive Vice President from 1998 to 2000, Sanwa Financial Services as Chief Information and Operations Officer from 1994 to 1998, Lehman Brothers as First Vice President of the Equity Technology Division from 1993 to 1994 and Cooper, Neff and Associates as Principle and Vice President from 1987 to 1993.
Merchant earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Bombay University, a Master’s in Computer Science from Memphis State University and an MBA from Temple University. He and his wife, who have two sons, currently reside in New Jersey, and will be moving to New York City shortly.