The next political appointee of potential interest to the communications industry is President Barack Obama’s CTO. Obama is reported to have narrowed the list of candidates down to two, both coincidentally born in India. 


Padmasree Warrior

The two leading candidates, according to BusinessWeek (story here), are Padmasree Warrior, CTO of Cisco Systems, and Vivek Kundra, CTO for the city of Washington, D.C.

Other suspected candidates include Shai Agassi, formerly with SAP; Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig; HP CTO Shane Robison; Internet pioneer Vint Cerf; Cisco CEO John Chambers; Princeton computer science professor Ed Felten; Google’s Eric Schmidt; Julius Genachowski (now set to become chair of the FCC instead), and Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

CTO is a new position in the U.S. government, though the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has, in administrations previous to George W. Bush’s, fulfilled the role of the president’s chief technology advisor. Whoever is appointed will have primary responsibility for the U.S. government’s information technology and communications systems – o  no small thing, as the U.S. is one of the largest consumers in the world.

The U.S. CTO is likely to provide Obama on broadband policy and other matters of concern to the communications industry.

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