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Rumor: Google CEO Tops List of Likely CTOs under President Obama


November 10, 2008

Rumor: Google CEO Tops List of Likely CTOs under President Obama

By Michael Dinan
TMCnet Editor


TMCnet reported here about President-elect Barack Obama’s uses of technology in forging a new type of campaign, relying on iPhone applications, vide streaming, text-messaging and live-blogging to mobilize constituents, raise funds and voice his views.

It makes sense that Obama leveraged technology during his campaign. He inherits a weakening economy that’s seeing businesses looking to cut costs and boost production through innovative ideas, including telecommunications.
Part of Obama’s technology platform included hiring a chief technology officer for the nation – a person who will build a 21st century technology infrastructure, bring together IT personnel from federal agencies and develop solutions to large-scale technology challenges facing the United States.
Rumors have swirled for months about who Obama will choose to serve as the nation’s first CTO. Now that the former Illinois senator is putting together his staff and cabinet, the rumors are swirling faster.
Today, Jason Hiner posted a list of the top-10 likely candidates on – a Web site owned by San Francisco-based CBS Interactive Inc.
Leading the list of front-runners, according to Hiner, is Eric Schmidt, the Google (News - Alert) chief executive officer who campaigned on Obama’s behalf. Schmidt, pictured right, is “a pragmatic, low-key leader who can successfully work in collaboration with other leaders.”
“He is not as much of a visionary or a bulldog, but his temperament might be the right fit for this position,” Hiner writes. “At the end of last week, Schmidt denied that he is interested in the position, and no one could blame him for not wanting to leave Google, which is at the top of its game and still has an excellent future. Nevertheless, don’t rule him out just yet. He remains the most likely candidate for the job.”
The second-most likely candidate, according to Hiner, is Julius Genachowski, a former Harvard Law School student with Obama who already has advised the president-elect on technology-related issues.
“He previously served as chief of business operations at InterActive Corp, was an FCC (News - Alert) advisor during the Clinton administration, and founded his own company, LaunchBox Digital, to help tech startups,” Hiner writes.
Even if Genachowski isn’t chosen as CTO, it’s likely he will become head of the Federal Communications Commission under the Democratic president, according to Hiner.
Other front-runners for the CTO position include: Microsoft founder Bill Gates; Ed Felten, Princeton computer science professor; Cisco (News - Alert) Systems Inc. CEO John Chambers, a staunch supporter of Obama’s rival, Sen. John McCain; Vint Cerf, who helped create the TCP/IP architecture that made the Internet possible; Shane Robison, the executive vice president of technology and strategy at Hewlett-Packard (News - Alert); Padmasree Warrior, Cisco’s CTO and an Obama supporter; Larry Lessig, a Stanford law professor; and Shai Agassi, former head of technology at SAP (News - Alert).

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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