Top Tech Executives Head to the White House

Washington D.C.         
                                     Eric Thayer  Getty Images

Washington D.C. Eric Thayer Getty Images

On June 19 and June 22, C-suite executives will gather under the aegis of a new White House division, the Office of American Innovation, which is led by Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner (a target in the Russian election meddling investigation) and charged with "implementing policies and scaling proven private-sector models to spur job creation and innovation".

Trump and Vice President Pence are expected to pop-by the working sessions.

Although Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg had joined other tech executives in a December meeting with Trump in NY, she will not be in attendance. "The meeting had a genial tone, as tech leaders joked with Trump and seemed committed to playing nice and working toward the greater good". Its goal: "coordinate the vision, strategy, and direction" and "advice to the president related to policy decisions" regarding the federal government's use of information technology. But many in the tech industry appear to disagree, particularly among rank-and-file employees who have called for strong public denunciations of the administration's climate change stance.

The American Technology Council was established by an executive order in May.

"We will be rolling up our sleeves and working through the hard issues of how to provide better services to citizens, how to use technology to enable better government decision-making, how to reduce fraud and waste, and how to accelerate moving to the cloud", Safra Catz, co-CEO of Oracle and a member of Trump's transition team, said in a statement provided to CNN Tech.

After Trump announced he would exit the Paris Agreement, Musk tweeted that he would be resigning from his positions on the president's advisory councils.

Also notable: No one from Facebook was in attendance. He's listed as attending on behalf of his venture fund. With numerous companies in the room having pioneered data-driven business practices, the White House hopes a little bit of that expertise will rub off. Several also stand to reap billions from tax reform. "Hopes for an overhaul of the corporate-tax code this year are fading, some executives and corporate lobbyists say, as the White House and lawmakers struggle to reach consensus on a plan that could get through Congress. Mr. Trump's move to quit the Paris climate accord has been a stinging lesson for some that White House face time doesn't always translate into influence", Vanessa Fuhrmans and Peter Nicholas write for the Wall Street Journal. And as one lobbyist puts it, he's probably not there to "talk about cloud computing at the Veteran's department".

About 18 CEOs - also including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos - and two-dozen more business experts are expected to attend the event, and help offer insight about how the government's information technology systems could be updated and modernized.

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