Two senior figures in the CIO community have announced their departures recently – one in the financial services sector, one in central government.

Leaving the CIO position at Aviva after two years, Toby Redshaw is off to American Express. He will occupy a similar global CIO role there, presumably to bring some of the changes he managed at the insurer to the credit card company. He will report to Stephen Squeri, Group President, American Express Global Services, who has been acting as CIO while a suitable successor was found.

Redshaw is recognised as standardising Aviva’s business processes and bringing in social networking and intranet systems. Process is obviously core to his concerns, after a 17-year stint at Fedex, but he is also a fully-trained management professional, coming from the Kellogg School of Management – a US business school that ranks alongside the likes of Harvard.

Government CIO John Suffolk is also on the move, although there is no indication that he is immediately going to take up another post. He has been at the post for nearly five years, which is a respectable length of time for any CIO to hold office and a little longer than he originally expected to.

Suffolk’s name is synonymous with central government attempts to template its IT, so achieving the cost savings therein. At the Cabinet Office, he was a long-time advocate of shared services across departments, where possible. He also championed standard levels of training for IT staff across government.

Suffolk has also spoken out in favour of making government IT procurement simple enough to give smaller suppliers a level playing ground when competing with bigger players with more expertise in navigating arcane public sector tender requirements. At the heart of his approach though, was a commitment to supporting the delivery of better public services to taxpayers.

Reports suggest his boss and predecessor Ian Watmore will step into the breach until a replacement for him is found.