Facebook Engineering Manager Andy Barkett Joins Republican National Committee As CTO

By David Cohen 

The Republican National Committee tapped Facebook’s ranks in its search to fill its newly created chief technology officer position, announcing the hiring of Andy Barkett, an engineering manager at the social network.

The Huffington Post broke the news of Barkett joining the RNC, and the RNC told HuffPost Barkett will lead efforts to make the GOP more competitive in the digital realm, splitting his time between Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.

According to HuffPost, the creation of the CTO position was part of the Republican Party’s response to Mitt Romney’s loss to President Barack Obama in last November’s election.

The RNC said of Barkett:

(He) was in charge of dozens of engineers on six production engineering teams responsible for thousands of servers and scaling systems in mobile infrastructure, messaging, advertisements, newsfeeds, platforms, and payments.

Barkett said in a statement, as reported by HuffPost:

(It is) essential that the Republican Party has the resources to drive voter turnout as we look toward the elections of 2014, 2016, and beyond. Silicon Valley welcomes the party’s efforts to be more creative and innovative, and I look forward to helping the party accomplish these goals.

Sun Microsystems Co-Founder Scott McNealy told HuffPost the addition of Barkett would be a “huge boost” to the GOP, adding:

Andy Barkett is a not just a strong advocate of fiscal conservatism and the ability of private enterprise to lift everyone in our nation, but he is the real deal as a technologist, too. His deep background with several Silicon Valley stalwarts meshes nicely with his exceptional database and app pedigrees.

And HuffPost quoted a source with knowledge of the hiring as saying:

This guy is obviously in a different mold. This guy is actually from the engineering side. If I’m looking at it from the RNC’s perspective, getting somebody who is really an engineer and has been doing this on the tech side makes a lot of sense.

Readers: Do you think this was a sound move by the Republican Party?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.