Software-as-service CRM provider Salesforce.com has hired the former CIO of the US government as executive vice president of emerging markets.
Vivek Kundra was appointed as the very first CIO of the United States in 2009 and stepped down last year to join the faculty at Harvard University. He is credited with introducing a ‘cloud first’ IT procurement policy across the US government, as well as launching its pioneering open data website, data.gov.
Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff described Kundra as "an amazing technology visionary who opened the eyes of millions to the transformational power of cloud computing". Kundra said that he is "excited to join the most innovative company in the world that is pioneering social, mobile and open cloud computing technologies for the enterprise".
The appointment is most likely an attempt to bolster Salesforce.com’s appeal and credibility with CIOs. In November 2010, the company hired one of the UK’s best known CIOs – former Dresdner Kleinwort IT chief JP Rangaswami – as its ‘chief scientist’.
Speaking at a Salesforce.com conference last year, Kundra said that the ‘cloud first’ policy would allow government agencies without capital investment. "Agencies across the board are being forced to zero out [decrease to nothing] their capital expenditure," he revealed.
At the same conference, European digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes asked Kundra to become an adviser on cloud computing. "I asked Vivek to be my advisor, and he said yes, so my day is made," Kroes said.