Like many that have followed the OpenDocument Format (ODF) story in Massachusetts, I've wondered what former State CIO Peter Quinn would eventually decide to do after announcing his resignation late last year. Since then, he's engaged in a whirlwind public speaking tour that has taken him throughout Europe and as far away as Australia. While doing so, he's told the story of what befell him in Massachusetts, and promoted open standards and open source software.
While catching up on my Google Alerts just now, I finally stumbled on the answer in the closing paragraphs of a long article at InformationWeek.com. That article was called Lightning Rod no Longer, and focused on corporate ethics, using Peter as an example of someone who didn't take favors from vendors, but got pilloried anyway. In it, Peter describes in detail how increasing attention (welcome and otherwise) focused on Massachusetts, and how he became in increasing demand as a speaker on the importance of open standards and open source software in government. As a result, his speaking invitations became more numerous, eventually providing a spurious opening for his integrity to be questioned.
According to this article, Peter is returning to the private sector, not surprisingly having had enough of government service, at least for now.
All of this is pretty well-plowed ground, although it’s presented here in more detail than I’ve seen before. Hence, it was a surprise to find some actual news at the very end, added almost as an afterthought, which is this: Peter Quinn will be relocating to Columbus, Ohio, to become the senior VP of business systems for a hedge fund called Bisys Group, reporting to an executive VP. In so doing, he’ll return to the financial industry where he had spent his career prior to his rollercoaster experience in the public sector.
And how will that suit him after over a year of being in the public eye? According to the article, “Says Quinn, ‘I want to be a practitioner, not just a talking head.'”
I wish him a long, successful, and low profile engagement – but I’ll be surprised if we never hear from Peter Quinn again.
Best of luck, Peter. Don’t be a stranger.