Tech CEOs meet with U.S. officials ahead of Trump talks


UPDATE 2-Tech CEOs meet with U.S. officials ahead of Trump talks

(Adds meetings with other officials before Trump meeting)
    By David ShepardsonWASHINGTON, June 19 (Reuters) - Major U.S. technology
company chief executives sat down with White House senior
adviser Jared Kushner and other top Trump administration
officials on Monday before meeting with the president on cutting
government waste and improving information technology services.
    Other officials meeting in 10 small group sessions with the
executives included Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury
Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
    The four-hour discussions preceded a meeting with President
Donald Trump scheduled for 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT).
    The White House has enlisted tech CEOs to improve government
services, reform outdated information technology systems, cut
fraud and government costs and improve services for taxpayers.
It has cited an economic opportunity to save up to $1 trillion
over 10 years through such measures.
    Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, said before the sessions began
that the administration wanted to "unleash the creativity of the
private sector to provide citizen services in a way that has
never happened before."
    He said the administration was scrapping unneeded cyber
compliance rules and should be able to consolidate and eliminate
the vast majority of the government's 6,100 data centers and
move to a cloud-based storage system.
    The meeting with nearly 20 chief executives comes as the
White House pushes to shrink government, cut federal employees
and eliminate regulations. Many business executives are eager to
work with the new administration as they face numerous
regulatory and other policy issues.
    In May, Trump created an American Technology Council, his
latest effort since taking office to modernize the U.S.
government. He signed a separate order in March to overhaul the
federal government and tapped Kushner to lead a White House
Office of American Innovation to leverage business ideas and
potentially privatize some government functions. [nL1N1I30MH]
    Others attending include Alphabet Inc <GOOGL.O> Executive
Chairman Eric Schmidt, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins
Chairman John Doerr and the CEOs of Microsoft Corp <MSFT.O>
International Business Machines Corp <IBM.N>, Intel Corp
<INTC.O>, Qualcomm Inc <QCOM.O>, Oracle Corp <ORCL.N> and Adobe
Systems Inc <ADBE.O>, a White House official said on Sunday.
Facebook <FB.O> CEO Mark Zuckerberg was invited but could not
attend because of a conflict, the company said.
    "We're excited to engage," VMware Inc <VMW.N> CEO Pat
Gelsinger told reporters as he headed into the meeting.
Mastercard Inc <MA.N> CEO Ajay Banga said his company wanted to
assist with cyber security issues.
    Many CEOs, including Schmidt, IBM and Microsoft, declined to
comment as they entered the meeting.
    In May, Trump asked lawmakers to cut $3.6 trillion in
government spending over the next decade, taking aim at
healthcare and food assistance programs for the poor in a budget
that also boosted spending on defense.
    A 2016 U.S. Government Accountability Office report
estimated the U.S. government spent more than $80 billion in IT
annually, excluding classified operations. In 2015, the U.S.
government made at least 7,000 separate IT investments and some
agencies were using systems that had components at least 50
years old. "This structure is unsustainable," Kushner said.
    Chris Liddell, a White House official who directs the
American Technology Council and is a former Microsoft and
General Motors Co <GM.N> chief financial officer, said on Friday
the Trump administration aimed to improve government services to
at least the level of the private sector.

    The CEOs and White House also planned to discuss Trump's
review announced in April of the U.S. visa program for bringing
high-skilled foreign workers into the country. Apple CEO Tim
Cook plans to raise immigration, a person briefed on the matter
said Sunday. [nL1N1HQ029]
    The council also seeks to boost the cyber security of U.S.
government IT systems and wants to learn from private-sector
practices. In 2015, hackers exposed the personal information of
22 million people from U.S. government databases.
    In a document outlining the working-group sessions, the
White House said the federal government should require "making
it easy for agencies to use the cloud."
    The White House thinks it can learn from credit card
companies about significantly reducing fraud. A 2016 government
audit found that in Medicaid alone, there was $29 billion in
fraud in a single year.
    Following Trump's June 1 decision to withdraw from the Paris
climate accords, Tesla <TSLA.O> CEO Elon Musk and Walt Disney
<DIS.N> CEO Robert Iger stepped down from White House advisory
panels. White House officials said the dispute had little impact
and that they had to turn away tech leaders from Monday's event
because of lack of space.

 (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Peter Cooney and
Richard Chang)
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This article appears in: Stocks , Politics
Referenced Symbols: ADBE , DIS , FB , GM , GOOGL

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