Another high-profile state leader to depart the Stitt administration

Carmen Forman
Oklahoman
Gov. Kevin Stitt's Chief Operating Officer John Budd poses for a photo in The Oklahoman studio in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019.

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday his chief operating officer will resign next month, marking another high-profile departure from the Stitt administration. 

John Budd, Oklahoma's first chief operating officer —  a position created by the governor, played a key role in the state's COVID-19 response and helped implement Stitt's vision for streamlining state government and improving how agencies deliver services. 

One of the governor's top advisers, Budd said the time was right for his "next journey." 

Budd, who came from the private sector, has worked with Stitt since the governor was inaugurated in 2019.

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In a news release, Stitt said he wishes Budd all the best. 

“John Budd’s faithful service to the state of Oklahoma cannot be overstated,” Stitt said. “As our first COO, he helped me build my executive team, launched a number of key initiatives, and has been a trusted advisor since the start of my administration. His leadership on the Governor’s Solution Task Force during the pandemic was key in successfully helping navigate our state through one of the toughest challenges we have ever faced." 

Budd previously told The Oklahoman that when Stitt built his team, he asked his cabinet secretaries to commit to stay on for at least two legislative sessions, which is often the most fast-paced and stressful time of the year for the governor's team. 

Budd's resignation is effective July 2. The search for a replacement is ongoing, according to Stitt's office.