Taka is the first Chief Data Scientist appointed by the Comptroller General of the United States. He also leads GAO's newly established Innovation Lab in driving problem-centric experiments across audit and operational teams through novel use of advanced analytics and emerging technologies. As a member of the Senior Executive Service, Taka is also responsible for working with GAO stakeholders to adopt prospective views on oversight impacts of emerging capabilities.






Stephen Sanford is the Managing Director in GAO’s Strategic Planning and External Liaison team. He helps GAO strategically plan for the future, lead external relations with domestic and international accountability partners, and drive agency-wide innovation and transformation. He also oversees the activities of the GAO Center for Audit Excellence and is Director of GAO's Center for Strategic Foresight.

Stephen joined GAO in 2009. He has led efforts to develop 3 agency strategic plans, supported GAO's bilateral and multilateral international relations with national governments and international organizations, and helped lead GAO's first technology assessment on artificial intelligence. In recognition of his work, he has received a GAO Distinguished Service Award and a GAO Meritorious Service Award.

Prior to GAO, he advised executives on technology and business process improvement at multinational firms in London, Paris, and Brussels. He was also responsible for science and technology policy issues at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned a master’s degree in business administration with distinction from INSEAD in France.

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