Another Googler may be headed for a job in Washington: Longtime Google engineer and executive Megan Smith is said to be a leading candidate for the post of Chief Technology Officer in the Obama administration.
Smith, a vice president at Google’s X division – the group responsible for “moonshot” projects like self-driving cars and drones – is in line to become the nation’s third CTO, according to a Bloomberg news report that cites unnamed sources.
The previous CTO, former health-tech entrepreneur Todd Park, is stepping down from the post but will continue to serve as a White House advisor based in Silicon Valley, where he’ll try to recruit other talented techies to join the government and help the White House overhaul aging federal IT systems.
Smith would be the second Google exec lured to DC in recent weeks. The White House announced earlier this month that veteran engineer Mike Dickerson, who helped fix the trouble-plagued healthcare website, is staying on with the government in a full-time role, responsible for helping fix other government websites.
Here in Silicon Valley, Smith is a well-known and respected figure. A former CEO of the gay and lesbian website PlanetOut, she joined Google in 2003 and helped oversee acquisition and integration of services like Picasa and Keyhole, a satellite imaging program that’s part of Google Earth.
She’s also helped lead Google’s Solve for X program, which encourages new approaches to complex problems, and has been a high-profile spokesperson for efforts to encourage more students and women to enter the tech field.