The White House announced that Google executive Megan Smith has been named the next US Chief Technology Officer. According to a blog post from White House official John P. Holdren, Smith will “lead Administration-wide efforts to unleash the power of technology, data, and innovation to help meet our nation’s goals and the needs of our citizens.”
Smith will become the nation’s third CTO and first female to hold the position. The MIT-educated engineer comes to the White House with decades of experience in Silicon Valley, most recently serving as a vice president at Google[x], the company’s top secret innovation lab. While there, she helped create the “SolveForX” innovation community project and the “WomenTechmakers” diversity initiative.
Joining Smith in her new role is newly-minted Deputy US CTO Alexander Macgillivray. An expert in technology law and policy as well as an active coder, Macgillivray served as Twitter’s general counsel from 2009 to 2013. Prior to that, Macgillivray was deputy general counsel at Google. As White House Deputy CTO, Macgillivray will focus on Internet policy, intellectual property policy, and the convergence of big data, technology and privacy.
“Megan has spent her career leading talented teams and taking cutting-edge technology and innovation initiatives from concept to design to deployment,” said President Obama in a statement. “I am confident that in her new role as America’s Chief Technology Officer, she will put her long record of leadership and exceptional skills to work on behalf of the American people. I am grateful for her commitment to serve, and I look forward to working with her and with our new Deputy U.S. CTO, Alexander Macgillivray, in the weeks and months ahead.”
President Obama created the US Chief Technology Officer (CTO) position within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on his first full day in office. The head of this position is tasked with leading the administration’s information-technology policy and initiatives to help government do a better and more efficient job. President Obama established the new office to help modernize the country and support national priorities, such as job creation, health care and national security.
Former Virginia Secretary of Technology Aneesh Chopra held the position from its formation in 2009 until the winter of 2012. Chopra was succeeded by former Department of Health and Human Services CTO Todd Park, who announced his resignation last month.
John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), took to the White House blog page to welcome the new technology czars.