Steve Hamm of Business Week narrows the National CTO finalists down to two today. And, based on what we currently understand the job description to be, both would be excellent picks.
They are Padmasree Warrior, the chief technology officer of Silicon Valley networking giant Cisco Systems (CSCO), and Vivek Kundra, who holds the same title in the government of Washington, D.C., the sources say.
The two candidates offer President-elect Obama a clear choice of skills. Warrior, who previously was CTO at Motorola (MOT), represents hard-core technology expertise. Kundra, who was named to the D.C. post in 2007, has held similar government positions in the past and has a reputation for using technology to make government more open and inclusive. Neither the Obama transition team nor the two executives would comment on their potential selection by Obama.
The President-elect is expected to announce his pick for CTO in a matter of days. One of the sources says the selection is being held up because it's not yet clear how the person selected as CTO will interact with the government's chief information officer, a position now held by Karen Evans, and with the new cyber-security czar, another position that has not yet been filed.
Kundra has been on the tip of most lips since the Post ran a flattering profile on him earlier in the month.
One caveat that Hamm doesn't raise: There is some talk that the Obama team might yet pick someone with more of an "academic" background (as opposed to business management). Ed Felten of Princeton has been on numerous short lists and would fall under this category.
And, in other appointment rumor news, former Symantec CEO John Thompson has moved from CTO speculation to Commerce Secretary talk. That would be a great spot for him.