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Google’s Smith Named White House Chief Technology Officer

A former Google Inc. X lab executive is President Barack Obama’s choice to be the next U.S. chief technology officer.

Obama is naming Megan Smith, most recently a vice president of the Google X lab, for the CTO position and Twitter Inc.’s Alexander Macgillivray to be her deputy, John Holdren, Obama’s science adviser, said today in a blog post.

“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.”

Smith will succeed Todd Park, who resigned to return home to California. Aneesh Chopra was the first person to hold the job, which Obama created after taking office in 2009.

The CTO serves as a liaison between the White House and Silicon Valley companies. The job is designed to give advice to the government on better use of technology, including ways to create jobs and increase broadband use.

Smith joined Google, which has its headquarters in Mountain View, California, in 2003. As vice president of business development, she oversaw many of its most important acquisitions, such as Keyhole, the service that underlies Google Earth.

She led the company’s philanthropic division,, and was a co-host for Google’s Solve for X forum, where thinkers and scientists brainstorm radical technology ideas with Google executives. She’s also worked on an initiative at the company to get more women involved with technology.

Planet Out

Before joining Google, Smith was chief executive officer of Planet Out, a site for gay and lesbian Internet users. She earned undergraduate and Masters degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has been active in the FIRST Robotics Competition, which seeks to get kids interested in technology careers.

Macgillivray was general counsel and head of public policy at San Francisco-based Twitter from 2009 to 2013, according to a White House biography. He left the social media company shortly before its initial public offering last year.

Bloomberg reported last month that Smith was the leading candidate for the job.

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