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UK Government IT axeman jumps sinking ship

Possibly the most powerful man in the history of UK Government information technology, Peter Suffolk, has announced his impending resignation.

The man tasked with making sense of the UK Government's vast IT infrastructure will clear his desk at the end of the year after four years at the helm.

Suffolk was appointed to the post of Chief Information Officer by Gordon Brown's Labour cabinet in 2006 and has been one of the driving forces behind the move to thin-client virtualisation in many key Government departments.

When the current coalition Government came into power earlier this year, Suffolk was forced to make vicious cuts to many departmental IT budgets and imposed a Government-wide moratorium on any existing or future project costing more the £1 million.

Suffolk has given no formal reason for his sudden resignation, but we'd hazard a guess that going from a free-spending administration with forward-looking IT policies to one which is determined to cut spending to the bone regardless of the implications could have something to do with it.

"It has been a great honour to have been a civil servant and a huge privilege to have led the IT profession over the last five years. Without doubt we have transformed the UK into a leading user of technology benefiting citizens and the UK economy," Suffolk said in a statement.

It's not known whether Suffolk's £207,000 a year post will be up for grabs once he has vacated his office, but chief operating officer for the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG), Ian Watmore will step into his shoes "until further notice".