Another Private Sector Appointment to provide VA Leadership

Published: March 24, 2015


Last week President Obama appointed Laverne Horton Council as assistant secretary for information and technology at VA. She would assume the role of department CIO. Steph Warren has been acting in this role for the past two years after the departure of former CIO Roger Baker in February of 2013.

Council currently serves as CEO of Council Advisory Services, a firm she started in 2012. Prior to that, she was CIO of Johnson & Johnson’s Global IT Group.  She also worked for Dell in roles of Vice President and Global Vice President from 2000 to 2006.

Council is also very involved with the March of Dimes, where she has volunteered since the age of five.  She was elected Chairperson of the National Board of Trustees in 2011. Her son Troy was born prematurely and she says that's another reason why the March of Dimes is very close to her heart.  

Council holds a Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa, from Drexel University, and a Master's in Business Administration in Operations Management from Illinois State University, as well as a Bachelor's degree in Business from Western Illinois University, graduating with highest honors.

If approved by the Senate, Council will follow in the footsteps of VA Secretary, Robert McDonald, who previously hailed from Procter & Gamble.  McDonald has called for a full makeover of the department after last year’s reports regarding medical treatment delays for our nation’s veterans.

VA has been under fire over the last several years for claims backlogs, security breaches, and scheduling issues.  More recently, it gained a positive mark from an independent cybersecurity assessment, but was admonished by the VA IG for poor IT project management.  The appointment of Council may be another attempt to fix scrutinized and ailing IT processes and systems at VA.

According to VA sources, Warren is expected to stay on as Council’s deputy. 

The Senate received Councils nomination on March 19th and referred it to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs.