Google Exec to Head Energy Dept?

Newsweek throws out ideas on who will head Obama’s Energy Dept.

Who Will Sit at Energy?

Daniel Stone

Obama's cabinet choices thus far reveal the president-elect's desire to tap big names with long national resumes—Hillary, Robert Gates, Bill Richardson—over the lesser-known folks who wouldn't add shock value but might bring some field or industry experience to his table. With several key cabinet posts still to fill, one pick in particular will reveal exactly how Obama is thinking and what his broader vision is for his cabinet. Whoever he chooses to sit at the head of Energy—one of the several issues he attached the word "crisis" to (economic and environmental were the others)—will indicate exactly how big a risk Obama wants to take on an issue with extremely high stakes.

On the list is Google’s Dan Reicher, Director of Climate Change.

But Obama did campaign on the promise of change. Which shines some light on Dan Reicher, director of climate change and energy initiatives for Google, the Internet giant that seems to have staked its future on getting ahead of everything related to innovation. Google has devoted significant resources to energy tech and power generation for several reasons (not least of which to power its massive farms of computer servers). Reicher served for a period as assistant energy secretary during the Clinton administration, but in moving from Silicon Valley to Washington, he would bring something unique: private-sector experience and a mind-set not currently limited by the bounds of government. Worth mentioning in the same vein is John Bryson, former chairman of Edison International and co-chair of the Electric Drive Transportation Association.


Google's Reicher, though, does seem to be the man to watch. At the Democratic National Convention in August, an Obama strategist pointed toward Reicher and told a NEWSWEEK reporter "Keep and eye on that guy, they've been talking about him a lot."