White House names Google veteran as CTO

U.S. President Barack Obama has named long-time Google executive Megan Smith as the government’s new CTO, in charge of improving technology and the use of data across agencies.

Smith, formerly vice president of new business development at Google, led the company’s acquisition of Google Earth, Maps and Picasa.

Smith’s focus in the White House will be on the Obama administration’s IT policy and initiatives and pushing advanced technology adoption across the U.S. economy, John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said in a blog post Thursday.

Smith most recently served as vice president at Google’s tech lab, Google[x]. She previously served as CEO of PlanetOut, helped design early smartphone technologies at General Magic and worked on multimedia products at Apple Japan in Tokyo. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT.

“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.”

Also on Thursday, the White House named Alexander Macgillivray, a former general counsel and head of public policy at Twitter, as deputy U.S. CTO.

Smith replaces Todd Park in the role as U.S. CTO. Park, now based in Silicon Valley, continues as a technology advisor to the White House.

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