Who's in the running to be Barack Obama's chief technology officer? Who isn't? Leading technology CEOs such as Google's Eric Schmidt, Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Microsoft's Steve Ballmer have all been mentioned to fill the post, along with former Bill Clinton FCC chiefs Reed Hundt and William Kennard, just to name a few. The most likely frontrunner, though, is Julius Genachowski, the man in charge of selecting the nation's first CTO.
Barack Obama meets in Chicago with his transition team, all of
tech waits to hear if Obama will name a cabinet-level chief technology officer,
as he championed during his campaign for the White House.
Julius Genachowski and Sonal Shah of Google.org are heading up the search.
of the most prominent names in the mix to become the nation's CTO include:
Just because you are
heading up the search team doesn't mean you won't end up with the job itself.
Genachoswski is a former
adviser to Clinton FCC Chairman Reed
Hundt and board member at boards of Expedia, Hotels.com and Ticketmaster before
joining Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp. It probably doesn't hurt that
Genachowski and Obama were Harvard Law classmates.
ERIC SCHMIDT, CEO/GOOGLE
Will the White House get
all Googly? Schmidt is an obvious contender since he publicly stumped for Obama
and served as a technology advisor for the president-elect. It would be safe to
say Schmidt would not be the first choice of the telecoms that have so
dominated Washington over the last eight years.
DONALD GIPS, VP/LEVEL 3
As with many of Obama's
tech advisors, Gips comes from the Clinton/Gore branch of the Democrats. In the
late 1990's, Gips served as Al Gore's chief domestic policy adviser.
BILL JOY, SUN MICROSYSTEMS CO-FOUNDER
The choices of legendary
venture capitalist John Doerr. Currently a partner at Doerr's VC firm, Joy
co-founded Sun Microsystems.
ED FELTEN, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
A prominent professor of
computer science and public affairs at Princeton University, Felton is best known as a critic
of electronic voting machines. When asked if he would be interested in the CTO slot, Felton said, "Almost
anyone would be interested in doing that job."
STEVE BALLMER, CEO/MICROSOFT
"The No. 1 thing we
actually need now is to sort of restore a positive sense of optimism,"
Ballmer said Nov. 6 in Australia. Ballmer claims no one from Obama's
team has contacted him about the CTO job but, then again, the position
has been open for only three days. Bill Gates? His name hasn't come up.
VINT CERF, GOOGLE EVANGELIST
Cerf, Google's chief
Internet evangelist considered one of the founding fathers of the Internet, got
behind the Obama early in the campaign. Cerf said he was attracted to Obama
because of his support for network neutrality.
JEFFREY BEZOS, CEO/AMAZON
Bezos could bring not only
cutting edge technology ideas like government cloud computing to the White
House, but also great discounts on books and DVDs.
REED HUNDT, FORMER FCC
A veteran Washington
technology insider, the former Clinton FCC chairman often served as an Obama
surrogate on IT issues.
WILLIAM KENNARD, FORMER FCC
Another Clinton-era FCC
chief and prominent Obama surrogate currently serving as managing director at
the Carlyle Group.