Google exec Megan Smith is leaving Google's Mountain View campus for the White House, where she'll be its next Chief Technology Officer and will oversee the federal government's use of technology.
Obama released the following statement Thursday, adding that fellow Google alum and former Twitter lawyer Alexander Macgillivray will join as Deputy CTO:
Megan has spent her career leading talented teams and taking cutting-edge technology and innovation initiatives from concept to design to deployment," Obama said 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.
The Obama administration created the CTO position in 2009 within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Though it's the most visible technology position in government, Re/Code noted officers have not had much power over effecting change so far. For instance, the CTO is responsible for adding "best-in-class technologies" in all federal agencies, but the lofty goal that hasn't been reached. (And that's not to mention the White House's tech reputation following the Healthcare.gov debacle last year.)
Still, Smith and Macgillivray bring respected tech backgrounds into the fray. Smith has spent a decade at Google, including working as vice president in the Google X research division. Macgillivray, meanwhile, is best known for advocating free speech rights online, and played a key role on Google's legal team before moving to Twitter.