OPM is on the hunt for a new CDO who will also be its chief AI officer

Ted Kaouk’s departure for the CFTC has opened up a dual search for the civil service-focused agency.
A view of the entrance to the Theodore Roosevelt Federal Building, which houses the Office of Personnel Management headquarters, is shown June 5, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Last month, Office of Personnel Management Chief Data Officer Ted Kaouk was appointed to a new position at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Now, the civil service-focused agency is on the hunt for a replacement who will serve in two other critical roles: chief artificial intelligence officer and responsible artificial intelligence official.

The CFTC announced in late December that Kaouk, who confirmed the move on LinkedIn, would join its Division of Data as its chief data officer and director. John Coughlan, who was already working within the agency, was also promoted and will serve as the CFTC’s first chief data scientist. The chairman of the agency, Rostin Behnam, noted that their new roles came as CFTC upskills its data science staff. 

“The massive shifts in financial markets driven by advances in technology put the CFTC at the center of a new era of financial data, empowering us to more efficiently and effectively execute our mission,” Behnam said in a statement. “With these new critical hires, the CFTC is upskilling our data science staff, and increasing capacity and capability to be at the forefront of market innovations. We now have the team in place to set a strategy with concrete benchmarks and a clear path forward.”

In a posting published to USAJobs, OPM said that the agency’s next chief data officer is expected to serve both as the agency’s chief artificial intelligence officer (CAIO) and its responsible artificial intelligence official (RAIO).


Following the Biden administration’s wide-ranging executive order on artificial intelligence, many federal agencies have begun to appoint people to the new CAIO position, though they don’t need to formally name someone until 60 days after the Office of Management and Budget finalizes guidance for federal agency use of AI. The RAIO role was established under a 2020 Trump administration executive order on AI, though its associated responsibilities are supposed to be subsumed under the CAIO role. 

FedScoop is tracking agencies’ CAIOs as they’re announced here. OPM didn’t respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

Rebecca Heilweil

Written by Rebecca Heilweil

Rebecca Heilweil is an investigative reporter for FedScoop. She writes about the intersection of government, tech policy, and emerging technologies. Previously she was a reporter at Vox's tech site, Recode. She’s also written for Slate, Wired, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. You can reach her at Message her if you’d like to chat on Signal.

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