Megan Smith was most recently a vice-president of the semi-secret Google X lab that was responsible for the self-driving car, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s plans to connect the nether-regions of the world through a series of balloons (Project Loon), and Google Glass among a number of other things that the boffins are working on but no one is talking about..yet.
John Holdren, Obama’s science adviser, added that Twitter’s Alexander Macgillivray would serve as Ms. Smith’s deputy in a blog post written today.
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Obama speaks about Former Google X Exec
“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.”
The position was created in 2009 by President Obama and first held by Aneesh Chopra. Smith will be replacing Todd Park who recently resigned to return home to his family in California.
The CTO essentially acts as a bridge between Silicon Valley and the White House though not limited to Silicon Valley as tech knows no boundaries despite Silicon Valley’s domination of new technologies.
Megan Smith’s former experience
Smith began with Google in 2003 and was immediately named vice president of business development. While there, it’s believed that she was instrumental in acquiring Keyhole for Google which is the platform that Google Earth/Maps is built upon to this day.
She’s also co-hosted Google’s Solve for X forum, an annual meeting of scientists and Google execs where new tech issues are brainstormed and discussed. Additionally, she’s worked with Google to get more women into the tech field and led Google.org, the company’s philanthropic division.
Prior to joining Google, she served as CEO of Planet Out, a site for GYBT Internet users after earning her undergrad from MIT.
Her deputy, Macgillivray, general counsel and head of public policy at San Francisco-based Twitter from 2009 to 2013 and left prior to the company going public.