Canada’s chief information officer is leaving his post to join a startup in Ottawa.
Alex Benay, who for two-and-a-half years was tasked with modernizing the government’s digital infrastructure, made it official on Twitter this morning with a statement that indicated he’s taking on “a new challenge”.
Benay is joining MindBridge AI as the firm’s chief client officer and will be responsible for the company’s global growth strategy. MindBridge uses artificial intelligence to help auditors and financial regulators put the troves of collected data to better use and stomp out fraud. In June the company said it closed its Series B round of financing and investment through the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund for a combined total of $29.6 million. The investments brought the total fundraising to date to over $45 million. The Globe and Mail reported that $14.5 million of that $29.6 million was government funded.
Made the decision to leave the public service today.
Thank you to all those who have supported me over the years. To the #gcdigital community, keep pushing, change is possible and you’re doing an amazing job… Canada is better for it!https://t.co/GGQYAh4CAQ pic.twitter.com/Qdcw07BbQf
— Alex Benay (@AlexBenay) August 7, 2019
“I am proud to be joining a team of dedicated professionals who believe in AI for good and who want to lead Canada in the development of an inclusive AI ecosystem, while also creating the next corporate household name in this country and the world,” Benay wrote.
All public office holders are required to follow their obligations regarding future employment under the Conflict of Interest Act. The act specifically says all outside employment offers must be disclosed to the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner within seven days of receiving them.
“Alex has consulted the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner on the matter of his employment with MindBridge, and the constraints that he will be required to observe,” indicated Bianca Healy, chief communications officer for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, in an email to IT World Canada. “Alex has recused himself from all major files and decisions and has not, since being approached, been present at TB, or otherwise advised ministers on TB business.”
Farees Nathoo, a spokesperson for the treasury board, added Benay helped the board instill a digital-first mindset.
“Minister Murray thanks Mr. Benay for his service at the Treasury Board Secretariat, where he worked with dedication to place digital at the heart of our efforts to better serve Canadians. The Minister is confident that the team will continue this important work,” Nathoo said in a separate emailed statement.