Anil Cheriyan is stepping down as Deputy Commissioner of the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) and Director of the agency’s Technology Transformation Services organization, effective July 17, the agency said today.

Cheriyan will be returning to the private sector for a new career opportunity, GSA said.

He joined GSA in January 2019 after serving as CIO and executive vice president at SunTrust Banks. Before that, he led major digital transformation strategies at IBM and PwC Management Consulting.

One of his signature achievements at GSA was expansion of the IT Modernization Centers of Excellence (CoE) program from two agency partnerships to 12 in a span of 18 months. The CoE program aims to accelerate Federal agency IT modernization – a key goal of the President’s Management Agency issued in 2018 – by leveraging private sector innovation and government services while centralizing best practices and expertise.

Cheriyan’s tenure as TTS director has been characterized by a practical, private sector approach to executing IT modernization across the numerous government agencies that TTS engages with, along with a “listen first” model that has, among other benefits, ensured a solid footing for the agency’s FedRAMP program.

TTS under Cheriyan’s leadership has turned in superb performance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an exclusive CIO Crossroads interview with MeriTalk earlier this year, Cheriyan said TTS used about 20 percent of its talent pool to tackle rapid Federal agency pandemic response. Those efforts included vital assistance to the Small Business Administration to support the Paycheck Protection Program, and work with the Department of Health and Human Services to set up to provide resources to citizens. TTS also processed more nearly 1,000 FedRAMP reusability requests, worked to meet spiking demand on the website, and moved contact centers to telework status amid swelling call volumes.

“Leading GSA’s Technology Transformation Service and serving as the Deputy Commissioner of FAS has been a once in a lifetime opportunity for me,” said Cheriyan in a statement.

“I have been constantly impressed by the quality of the TTS team and it has been a privilege to work with each of our team members. They are immensely talented and driven public servants who are committed to transforming and improving the public’s experience with government through technology,” he said.

“I am grateful to Jared Kushner, Chris Liddell, and Emily Murphy for providing me this opportunity with their leadership and support of TTS and its mission. I am also appreciative of the tremendous collaboration we’ve enjoyed with our partner agencies, which has made our cross-government projects possible,” Cheriyan said.

‘Keep Focus on the Mission’

“It’s never easy to leave an organization you believe in, but it’s even harder when you feel so passionately about the mission,” Cheriyan said in an internal email to TTS staff. “Although my intention was to stay longer, a private sector company reached out directly with an opportunity with global impact that I can’t turn down.”

“Together, we’ve come so far,” he said. “I always tell the story of spending my first three months in this role listening and learning. I immediately saw a group dedicated to public service, with knowledge and expertise in technology that matched the private sector. The vision and commitment were clear immediately: Connecting the people and programs across TTS to build an organization dedicated to digital transformation across government.”

“In only 18 months, the Centers of Excellence grew from two to 12 agency partners, FedRAMP is on the path to automation, our Presidential Innovation Fellows doubled in size, 18F has secured ongoing work with over 23 offices in 18 agencies, and, our platforms, like,,, etc. have become the go-to enablers for innovation. In addition, in a time of crisis, we stepped up to the challenges presented and we did it well. Together, as One TTS, we’ve not only turned a strategic corner, but are driving change that will benefit the government and the American public for years to come. This is a legacy that I am very proud of,” Cheriyan said.

“If I can ask one thing of this team, it’s to maintain your drive and focus. Keep the focus on the mission and do what you do best as it can truly change the lives of the people we serve. TTS does incredible work and I thank you for allowing me to be a part of a team so inspirational and impactful,” he said.

Praise from Leadership

Chris Liddell, White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination, said, “We are very grateful for Anil’s service at the General Services Administration; our government works best when talented leaders offer their time, experience, and expertise to public service.”

“During Anil’s tenure, the Centers of Excellence program has continued to expand its impact across the Federal government and has delivered meaningful results for the American people. The Administration continues to prioritize this important work and the ongoing efforts of the IT Modernization Centers of Excellence,” he said.

That sentiment was echoed by GSA Administrator Emily Murphy.

“Anil has done a tremendous job leading TTS and I am very grateful for all he and his team have accomplished during the past 18 months,” she said.

“Under his leadership, the Centers of Excellence program has grown to twelve agencies and GSA has had the opportunity to be involved in multiple governmentwide initiatives that have positively supported the Federal government’s COVID-19 response. GSA is committed to continuing the important work Anil has led and I look forward to watching the talented TTS team bring about significant, meaningful change in Federal IT for years to come,” Murphy said.

Julie Dunne, Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner at GSA, said, “Anil made leading the digital transformation of the Federal government a top-priority.”

“He guided TTS to sharpen its vision, strategy, and focus on the key elements vital to the future of Federal IT modernization,” Dunne said. “I am thankful for his steady leadership and passion for public service that inspired our team to work together to create innovative solutions for our customers.”

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.