Symantec CEO rumoured to be cabinet candidate

Thompson may be in the running for the commerce secretary post

Symantec CEO John Thompson is in the running for the post of US secretary of commerce, according to some published reports.

Thompson and his wife were big fundraisers for President Barack Obama, responsible for at least US$196,000 (NZ$376,000) in campaign or inaugural coffers, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. He is scheduled to retire from the CEO post in April but stay on as chairman of the board at Symantec.

Besides Thompson, Obama is said to be considering another high-tech executive, Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior, to be the CTO for the US federal government.

Thompson has reportedly been talking to key legislators during the past week about the possible appointment, and he has the backing of California Senator Barbara Boxer, according to an aide.

Commerce Secretary is the last cabinet post Obama has to fill. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson had been appointed but backed out in the face of a federal probe of whether he intervened in the award of a state contract.

According to his biography on the Symantec website, Thompson served on the National Infrastructure Advisory Committee (NIAC), which made recommendations about securing critical national infrastructure. He also chaired the Silicon Valley Blue Ribbon Task Force on Aviation Security and Technology, a group that evaluates technology that could improve aviation security and efficiency.

Thompson is a director of UPS, Seagate Technology and Teach for America. Before joining Symantec he was an executive at IBM.

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