A former Google Inc. X lab executive and City Honors School graduate is President Barack Obama’s choice to be the next U.S. chief technology officer.
Obama is naming Megan Smith, most recently a vice president of the Google X lab, for the CTO position and Twitter Inc.’s Alexander Macgillivray to be her deputy, John Holdren, Obama’s science adviser, said today in a blog post.
“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.”
Smith will succeed Todd Park, who resigned to return home to California. Aneesh Chopra was the first person to hold the job, which Obama created after taking office in 2009.
“Our school community could not be more proud of Megan. During her visits to the school it has been clear that she values what the culture and excitement surrounding math and science at City Honors did for her,” said City Honors Principal William A. Kresse.
“As thrilled as we are that she will provide our nation with visionary leadership on technology issues, we are just as proud of her leadership over the years to bring more girls and women into the technology and engineering fields. Megan has a growth mindset and fearlessness in so many respects, exactly what we ask of our students.”
The chief technology officer serves as a liaison between the White House and Silicon Valley companies. The job is designed to give advice to the government on better use of technology, including ways to create jobs and increase broadband use.
Smith joined Google, which has its headquarters in Mountain View, California, in 2003. As vice president of business development, she oversaw many of its most important acquisitions, such as Keyhole, the service that underlies Google Earth.
She led the company’s philanthropic division, Google.org, and was a co-host for Google’s Solve for X forum, where thinkers and scientists brainstorm radical technology ideas with Google executives. She’s also worked on an initiative at the company to get more women involved with technology.
Before joining Google, Smith was chief executive officer of Planet Out, a site for gay and lesbian Internet users. She earned undergraduate and Masters degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has been active in the FIRST Robotics Competition, which seeks to get kids interested in technology careers.
Macgillivray was general counsel and head of public policy at San Francisco-based Twitter from 2009 to 2013, according to a White House biography. He left the social media company shortly before its initial public offering last year.
News Staff Reporter Mark Sommer contributed to this report.