Hemant Desai, Guilford County government’s long-time director of the Guilford County Information Services Department, has resigned and taken a new job with an international organization based in Washington, DC.

Anyone who follows the news has seen how important chief information technology officers are for local governments in this time of widespread cyber attacks.

Desai, who resigned in September, sent out an email of appreciation to fellow county department directors.

“It is with mixed feelings that I share with you about my decision to leave Guilford County.  Over the last 10+ years, in my various roles at the County, I have thoroughly enjoyed and cherished every moment,” Desai stated.  “I have had the privilege of working closely with many of you over this period, and learned some valuable lessons which has helped me and the IS team on journey of continual improvement.”

In recent years, Desai was the leader in the county’s efforts to keep its data and computer systems secure.  In 2020, former Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing told the Guilford County Board of Commissioners that it was astounding how often the county’s servers came under attack from hackers from all over.

Desai, who led several major projects to modernize the county’s legacy computing systems and backup methods, stated in the letter that this wasn’t an easy decision for him.  However, he wrote, his wife and his family were in the northeast and “the right opportunity came along in that region with an organization with values I share, and very similar to our values at Guilford County.”

Desai is taking a job with the International City/County Management Association – an organization of local government professionals that’s focused on “creating and sustaining thriving communities throughout the world.”

Desai will be the organization’s new chief information officer.

“As I said to our IS team,” Desai wrote, “I will always have you all in my mind and would continue to be a cheer leader for [the] Guilford County team.”

He concluded: “I want to end by saying that I will always be grateful for all the support you all have provided me through all times, and I am sure you will continue doing the same for whoever is in this role in the future.  I will certainly stay in touch and hope our paths will cross again.”

Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen said this week that Desai was a real asset to the county who will be missed.

“Hemant was a real collaborative leader for the department and just an all around good guy,” Thigpen said.