Obama Taps Google Exec to Lead His Tech Team

Megan Smith is the nation's third CTO

President Barack Obama today named Google's Megan Smith as his new chief technology officer.

At the same time, legal expert Alexander Macgillivray, who has worked at Twitter and Google, became deputy CTO.

Smith is the third person to fill the top role, after Aneesh Chopra and Todd Park. Park served as CTO during the chaotic rollout of HealthCare.gov, the Web centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law.

"Smith will guide the Administration’s information-technology policy and initiatives, continuing the work of her predecessors to accelerate attainment of the benefits of advanced information and communications technologies across every sector of the economy and aspect of human well-being," a White House blog post said today.

Obama first conceived of the CTO position when he was a candidate in 2008, envisioning a role that helps keep the U.S. in the technological lead in the face of growing global competition.

"Megan [Smith] has spent her career leading talented teams and taking cutting-edge technology and innovation initiatives from concept to design to deployment," the president 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."

Smith most recently worked as a vp in a Google division known as Google[x], where the company develops services like the recently revealed drone delivery system. She also is known for her work encouraging more women to join the tech and engineering sector.

Macgillivray will focus on Internet policies and privacy issues in his deputy role, according to the White House.