Paul Shetler, the founding chief executive of Australia’s digital services agency, has resigned, the Digital Transformation Agency announced today.

He has played an “instrumental role in establishing the Australian Government’s agenda to transform its digital presence and service delivery”, according to an official statement released this morning.

Shetler was personally recruited by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to lead the former Digital Transformation Office in July last year.

In October, Australia’s DTO was changed to merge traditional IT functions alongside the new digital team, combining with operations that were previously in the Department of Finance.

This change of remit saw Shetler appointed as Chief Digital Officer, while Nerida O’Loughlin, previously Deputy Secretary of the Communications Department, became Interim Chief Executive Officer of the expanded agency.

“Paul’s wealth of knowledge and international experience in the field of digital services has been invaluable to the government’s digital ambitions,” O’Loughlin said in the statement.

“His creativity and vision have been a great inspiration and have been crucial in helping the government to deliver the first phase of its digital transformation agenda. This has included the delivery of six transformed ‘exemplar’ services and the establishment of the highly successful Digital Marketplace.

“On behalf of the agency, I thank Paul for his significant contribution and wish him well for the future.”

Shetler was previously Director of the UK Government Digital Service, the unit on which the Australian DTO was modelled. The UK’s GDS was known for moving quickly, prioritising exemplar digital services and for tensions with the traditional CIO community.

The UK GDS has also lost its key figures over the past few years, reportedly due to tensions with permanent secretaries who wish to retain control over their ICT functions.

Prior to moving into the public sector, Shetler had been a senior executive in the financial services industry, and in large software companies.

The DTA plans to fill the Chief Digital Officer role in the new year.