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New state IT chief named after investigation found allegations of favoritism

Suma-Nallapati2

DENVER — Gov. John Hicknelooper named a new head of the state’s Office of Information Technology to replace Kristin Russell who resigned amid allegations of favoritism.

Earlier this month a FOX31 Denver investigation found personal connections between Russell and a private telecommunication company doing millions of dollars in business with the state.

Under Russell’s leadership the OIT gave CenturyLink a $43.5 million contract for computer hosting services called the Cloud First project.

She is married to Scott Russell, Vice President/General Manager for CenturyLink Northern Colorado.

A source inside OIT, who is familiar with the growing public-private venture, said Russell knew full well certain contracts benefited CenturyLink: a company managed by her husband.

When asked, Russell said the “state has lots of vendors that they do business with and lots of strategic partnerships that we work with across the community.”

Russell resigned May 9 to go work for Deloitte.

Wednesday, Hickenlooper said Suma Nallapati will replace her as Secretary of Technology and CIO for the OIT.

According to her online bio, Nallapati “is an accomplished technology leader and consultant with more than seventeen years progressive experience in establishing and executing value driven global IT service strategy and delivery.”

She comes to OIT from Catholic Health Initiatives, one of the nation’s largest healthcare networks.