A senior engineer at Facebook has been tapped to lead the Republican National Committee's new focus on technology and the "digital divide" that some feel contributed to Mitt Romney's recent loss to President Obama in the 2012 election.
Andy Barkett, an engineer with over a decade of Silicon Valley experience who has worked at Facebook since 2011, has been named the new Chief Technology Officer of the RNC.
“I am excited to announce that Andy Barkett will be leading the effort to expand our data and digital capabilities as our Chief Technology Officer,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “I am confident that with Andy’s experience and our continued efforts to build meaningful relationships with experts in Silicon Valley, we’ll see the changes to this part of our operation that we all agree are both important and necessary to winning elections in the future.”
The creation of the CTO position was a key part of the RNC's "Growth & Opportunity Project" report that came out of the party's recent defeat in the 2012 Presidential election. The sprawling report detailed many of of the problems Republicans face and highlighted some proposed solutions.
"Perhaps the area of campaign 2012 that received the most interest from a media standpoint is the “digital divide” that existed between the GOP and the Democrats as a result of the Obamacampaign’s signifcant commitment to building an in-house tech and digital team and sharing data resources across multiple entities within the campaign," said the report.
The report proposed the recruitment of a new "chief technology and digital officer" for the RNC.
It appears that the national committee has found their man in Barkett.
“It’s essential that the Republican Party has the resources to drive voter turnout as we look toward the elections of 2014, 2016 and beyond,” said Barkett. “Silicon Valley welcomes the party’s efforts to be more creative and innovative, and I look forward to helping the party accomplish these goals.”[Photo via Facebook]