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Mike Cheles, a longtime information technology leader, is Missouri's new chief information officer and head of the Office of Administration's Information Technology Services Division.

In a news release announcing his appointment, OA said Cheles will lead a team of almost 1,000 IT professionals, who support the information technology systems and services that are used in the daily operation of the state's 14 executive departments and three of the statewide-elected officials.

Cheles' first day will be Monday.

"I'm excited to bring my skills, diverse experience and dedication to the state of Missouri and ITSD," Cheles said in the news release. "The state's ITSD plays a critical role in the performance of Missouri state government. I'm ready to partner with state of Missouri leadership to identify ways to improve and modernize the state's IT systems and capabilities while also continuing ITSD's track record of innovation."

He comes to the state from the St. Louis-based Centene Corporation, a health care company that serves millions of people in the United States and internationally. He was Centene's director of Quality and Enterprise Projects.

Cheles previously served in the CIO role for Gibson Guitar Corp., Hussmann Corp. in Bridgeton, and MEMC Electronic Materials in St. Peters.

He earned his bachelor's degree in supply chain management from Michigan State University. He also earned a master's degree in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis.

Cheles succeeds Rich Kliethermes, who has been ITSD's acting CIO since November 2015 and will be the agency's acting deputy director.

Under Kliethermes, ITSD became a nationally recognized IT organization, including earning a prestigious "A" grade in 2014, 2016 and 2018 from the Center for Digital Government Digital States Survey, which evaluates state governments' use of digital technologies to better serve their citizens and streamline operations.

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