Here's All the Big Tech-Linked Advisors on Biden's Transition Team

Illustration for article titled Heres All the Big Tech-Linked Advisors on Bidens Transition Team
Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty Images)

On Tuesday, President-elect Joe Biden announced his administration’s transition team, including the list of agency review team members that will help his White House “hit the ground running on Day One.” It also, by all indications, includes a deeper bench of big tech figures than any transition team prior.

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Biden’s list is also a mix of the usual rabble, including former federal officials, nonprofit player, professors, lawyers, and a heck of a lot of corporate executives—including players from big banking, investing, consulting, and think tanks. But major tech firms managed to score a number of slots on the transition team, among them Airbnb, Alphabet, Amazon, Dell, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Lyft, Salesforce, Stripe, and Uber.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his spouse Priscilla Chan’s charitable foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, is represented on three separate transition teams (the Executive Office of the President, Management and Administration; the National Security Council; and the U.S. Digital Service). Amazon’s international tax chief is slated to weigh in on the State Department. Execs from Airbnb, Amazon, and Lyft will be among the White House Office of Management and Budget’s advisors. The International Development team will be headed by someone from Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and his spouse Melinda Gates’ charitable foundation, while Gates’ venture capital firm scored a slot on the Department of Energy.

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We put together a handy list below.

We should note that a massive number of the transition team members are executives at companies involved in tech in some capacity—it’s pretty much unavoidable for a major corporation to not have some kind of tech-adjacent concern at this point. Of the 535 transition team members, we determined some 47 as currently employed somewhere either in the tech world or at companies with more than incidental roles in it. That includes those working for relatively unknown, smaller players like security firm Rebellion Defense and healthcare analytics firm CareJourney. Others work for larger corporations with significant tech interests, such as Visa and other big banks with fintech subsidiaries, and Disney, which owns streaming service Disney+ and has a significant stake in Hulu. Two members of the transition team work for the New America Foundation, a think tank with close ties to Google, while one National Security Council advisor comes from Sequoia, a venture firm which has made investments in Apple, Oracle, PayPal, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Stripe, and many others.

Many of these picks may have found work at big tech companies, but have previous government experience relevant to the committees they’ll be weighing in on. Their placements don’t necessarily guarantee that big tech will have the ear of the incoming president; Biden is not expected to be particularly friendly to tech companies.

For the sake of clarity and focus, we’ve narrowed it down to those 19 working for relatively well-known tech firms or with direct ties to tech oligarchs. Committees are listed in bold, while their most recent job and position are below:

Council of Economic Advisers, team lead:

Martha Gimbel, Senior Manager of Economic Research at Schmidt Futures, the philanthropic investment firm started by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt

Department of Energy

Trisha Miller, Senior Director at Gates Ventures

Department of State

Tom Sullivan, International Tax Director at Amazon.com, Inc.

Department of Treasury

Will Fields, Senior Associate, Development at Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Alphabet

Nicole Isaac, Senior Director, North America Policy at LinkedIn Corporation

Department of Veterans Affairs

Phillip Carter, Senior Corporate Counsel at Tableau Software

Environmental Protection Agency

Ann Dunkin, Chief Technology Officer, State & Local Government at Dell Technologies

Executive Office of the President, Management and Administration

Austin Lin, Technical Program Manager at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

General Services Administration

Michael Hornsby, Customer Success Director at Salesforce.com, Inc.

Intelligence Community

Matt Olsen, Chief Trust and Security Officer at Uber Technologies, Inc.

International Development

Linda Etim (team lead), Senior Advisor of Global Policy and Advocacy at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

National Security Council

Clare Gallagher, Partnerships & Events Manager at Airbnb, Inc.

Austin Lin, Technical Program Manager at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Office of Management and Budget

Brandon Belford, Senior Director, Chief of Staff at Lyft, Inc.

Divya Kumaraiah, Strategy and Program Lead at Airbnb, Inc.

Mark Schwartz, Enterprise Strategist at Amazon Web Services

Office of the United States Trade Representative

Ted Dean, Head of Public Policy at Dropbox

Small Business Administration

Arthur Plews, strategy and operations lead at Stripe

United States Digital Service

Andrew Nacin, Director of Engineering at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Granted this is just the transition team, and none of these people are guaranteed lasting positions in the U.S. government. Per Business Insider, however, possible Cabinet picks from within Big Tech include IBM executive chairman Ginni Rometty, former Hewlett Packard and Quibi CEO Meg Whitman, Uber Senior Vice President/Chief Legal Officer/Corporate Secretary Tony West, and former Apple vice president of public policy and government affairs Cynthia Hogan.

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DISCUSSION

etruwanonanon
Etruwanonanon

What are all these people supposed to be doing? For example, what is the Customer Success Director at Salesforce supposed to do for the General Services Administration?