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Aneesh Chopra

Aneesh Chopra
Obama names Chopra, Zients to top posts.

President Barack Obama named two men who have been executives at Washington-area businesses to lead efforts to improve the government’s use of technology and the performance of federal employees.

In his weekly Saturday morning radio address, Obama said he appointed Aneesh Chopra, Virginia’s secretary of technology and former managing director of the D.C.-based Advisory Board Co., to the position of federal chief technology officer.

Also in the radio address, he announced the appointment of investor Jeffrey Zients, former CEO of the Advisory Board Co. and former chairman of the Arlington-based Corporate Executive Board Co. , as federal chief performance officer.

The Corporate Executive Board is a research and consulting organization that helps companies improve their decision-making and business practices. The Advisory Board also provides research and analysis to foster better corporate leadership. Much of its work is with hospitals and health systems.

In March, Obama selected the District’s chief technology officer, Vivek Kundra, to be the federal chief information officer.

The president wants Chopra to promote technological innovation to help meet national goals such as health care reform, homeland security and job creation. Zients is being asked to help the government streamline its processes, reduce costs and follow “best practices” in management.

“Aneesh and Jeffrey will work closely with our chief information officer, Vivek Kundra, who is responsible for setting technology policy across the government, and using technology to improve security, ensure transparency, and lower costs,” Obama said in his remarks for the radio address, as posted on the White House Web site. “The goal is to give all Americans a voice in their government and ensure that they know exactly how we’re spending their money – and can hold us accountable for the results.”

As Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine’s technology secretary, Chopra oversees projects that include the use technology to improve state government and the promotion of technology-related economic development. At the Advisory Board, he led the company’s Financial Leadership Council and the Working Council for Health Plan Executives. He also was involved in the introduction of a business intelligence software called Compass.

Chopa earned a bachelor’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University and has a master’s in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

The job of federal chief technology officer is a newly created position.

Zients is managing partner of Portfolio Logic LLC, an investment company that concentrates on health care and business services. Zients founded the company after he left the Advisory Board in 2004, where he had served as chairman since 2001. Previously, Zients was chief operating officer of the Advisory Board from 1996 to '98 and CEO from 1998 to 2001. He was chairman of The Corporate Executive Board from 2000 to '01. He currently serves on the board of Sirius XM Radio Inc.

A group led by Zientz and D.C. venture capitalist Fred Malek made a bid to become the owner of the Washington Nationals in 2006 but lost out to a group led by the Lerner family.

Zients wasn’t Obama’s first choice for chief performance officer. The president nominated Nancy Killefer, senior director in the D.C. office of management consulting business McKinsey & Co., for the position in January, but she withdrew the next month because of the publicity over tax problems related to her household help.

The chief performance officer also serves as deputy director of management in the Office of Management and Budget.

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