Tech CEOs Cook, Bezos, Catz Said to Attend Kushner-Led SummitBy and
Meeting at White House comes despite Paris climate discord
Trump-created council given goal of modernizing government
Leaders from the largest technology companies are set to visit the White House later this month for an inaugural meeting of President Donald Trump’s group formed to modernize government services, according to three people familiar with the plans. They will arrive weeks after many tech chiefs publicly split with Trump on his decision to exit the Paris climate deal.
The American Technology Council meeting will include a gathering of top executives followed by smaller sessions on particular topics, including those involving tech sales to government agencies, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. The council is made up of government officials, such as the U.S. chief technology officer, and is led by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser.
Eleven companies have been invited to participate in the June 19 summit, the people said. The list of planned attendees include Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella, Amazon.com Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos, Oracle Co-CEO Safra Catz and International Business Machines Corp. CEO Ginni Rometty, the people said. Alphabet Inc. plans to send Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.
Facebook Inc. also has been invited to send an executive to the summit, but it hasn’t yet replied to the invitation, one of the people said. The company declined to comment.
Representatives from Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft declined to comment. Spokesmen for IBM and Amazon didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. An Oracle spokeswoman confirmed Catz’s participation.
Trump formed the council on May 1 in an executive order, which said the body will work to “transform and modernize” government information technology and digital services. The president picked Kushner to head the group. Chris Liddell, the former chief financial officer at Microsoft and General Motors Co., is its director.
Working sessions at the summit are also expected to include topics around cloud computing. For some of these sessions, Alphabet is expected to send Diane Greene, the head of Google’s cloud division and an Alphabet board member, according to the people.
Trump held a meeting with tech executives in December, before his inauguration. The discussion at that gathering focused on jobs, trade, immigration and China relations. After the meeting, industry leaders said an area of broad agreement was the potential for the Trump administration to innovate in government services.
Since then, however, immigration has became a flash point of division between the industry and the administration. Executives publicly chastised Trump’s February executive order calling for a travel ban on those from Muslim-majority countries. Several tech companies, including Google, signed onto a legal effort to block the order.
Last week, Trump also rankled many tech industry leaders with his decision to remove the U.S. from the Paris climate pact. Cook, Nadella and Schmidt were among those who criticized Trump’s move. Cook said he had a conversation with Trump before the decision urging the president to remain in the accord.
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