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Obama's CTO Search Narrows: Report

Stocks in this article: CSCO MOT GOOG

Barack Obama is close to appointing his government IT guru, according to a report in Business Week, which says that the President-elect has narrowed the field to two candidates.

Representing corporate America is Padmasree Warrior, the chief technology officer (CTO) of networking giant Cisco Systems (CSCO), while Vivek Kundra, the CTO of Washington D.C., is touted as the public sector's leading candidate for the job.

( Photo gallery: Obama Takes Office)

Both executives have strong credentials. Warrior, for example, is the former CTO at Motorola (MOT), where she oversaw a $3.7 billion research and development budget, and a team of 24,000 engineers. Since joining Cisco in 2007, she has been heavily involved in the tech giant's internal restructuring, as well as fulfilling an IT evangelist's role, both inside and outside the company.

Like the president elect, Warrior has strong links with Chicago, having served on the mayor's technology council, as well as on the boards of the city's Joffrey Ballet and Museum of Science and Technology.

With Cisco aiming to cut its expenses for fiscal 2009 by more than $1 billion, now would not be a good time for the firm to lose its tech guru. The company's CEO John Chambers, for example, is a major advocate of Web 3.0 technologies such as social networking to foster innovation, boost productivity and reduce corporate travel. Chambers, however, is no stranger to the political world, and was even cited as a potential member of a John McCain cabinet, so is unlikely to stand in Warrior's way if she is selected.

Will the Obama administration turn the economy around?

Yes. Things will improve in 2009
Yes. But it's going to take a few years
No. The downturn is too severe and getting worse
No. There are too many factors that can't be controlled

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