New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration took another hit recently with chief digital officer Sree Sreenivasan leaving his post. The Indian American’s May 12 departure marks the eighth high-profile exit from City Hall within the past year, according to a New York Post report.
The former Metropolitan Museum of Art chief digital officer joined de Blasio’s team in October last year. He didn’t give a reason for his sudden resignation, the Post reported. Mayoral spokesman Ben Sarle declined to discuss the circumstances surrounding Sreenivasan’s departure in the Post report, but said the move was in line with a reworking of the City Hall tech team.
“We wish Sree all the best,” Sarle said in a statement cited by the report. “Moving forward, it was a natural fit to centralize digital strategy under the chief technology officer, Miguel Gamino.” Sreenivasan was appointed to the post in New York City in August 2016, with de Blasio praising the Indian American co-founder of the South Asian Journalists Association’s experience that would help “move our city’s digital ecosystem into the 21st century” At the time, Sreenivasan said about being named to the post, “It’s a real honor for me to serve as the CDO of the world’s greatest city.”
Prior to his work at City Hall, Sreenivasan served for three years as the first Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he led a 70-person team to increase the museum’s digital presence. In October 2015, he was appointed by Mayor de Blasio to the Commission on Public Information and Communication (COPIC), where he worked to increase access to, and education about, City information online. Before his work at the Met, he spent 20 years as a member of faculty of the Columbia Journalism School and a year as Columbia University’s first Chief Digital Officer. He was a founding member and contributing editor at neighborhood news site DNAinfo, and throughout his career, he has written for various publications, including the New York Times, and was a popular technology reporter on WABC-TV, WNBC-TV and WCBS-TV.
An immigrant from India, Sreenivasan was born in Japan and lived in Bhutan, the former Soviet Union, New York City, Myanmar, India and Fiji before receiving a Bachelor’s degree in History from St. Stephen’s College in Delhi and receiving a Master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University in 1993. He is a proud graduate of P.S. 6 in Manhattan and also attended St. Joseph’s of Yorkville. He and his wife, Roopa Unnikrishnan, a Rhodes Scholar and innovation consultant, live in Manhattan and are parents of twins who study in a NYC public school.
Sreenivasan replaces Jessica Singleton, who stepped down last month, according to govtech.com, to pursue an MBA at Harvard Business School. Days after he had to resign from his $328,900-a-year job at Met, Sreenivasan described in an interview to Quartz magazine how he pulled off turning “a public firing into a masterpiece of personal branding” —and how his methods might work. “He demonstrated a deft, natural mastery of his medium, social media, and gave his network the ammo they would need to help him out of his predicament,” the magazine wrote.
The City of New York is dedicated to improving engagement with residents and businesses by developing tools that will enhance government transparency, improve delivery of City services, and promote civic engagement. The Office of Digital Strategy (NYC Digital) works closely with the Mayor’s Office of Operations, Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics, NYC Economic Development Corporation, NYC Law Department, Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, NYC & Co, Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation, Department of Small Business Services, and the Mayor’s Communication’s Office to help develop forward-thinking policies and usage for digital tools to better serve the public and support the growth of New York City’s tech ecosystem.