Google’s Schmidt on Obama CTO Job: No Thanks

Barack Obama and Google CEO Eric Schmidt
President-elect Barack Obama and Google CEO Eric Schmidt
Source: Reuters

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Friday he would not serve as technology czar in Barack Obama’s administration if he was asked.

“I love working at Google and I’m very happy to stay at Google, so the answer is no,” Schmidt said in response to a question from CNBC host Jim Cramer in an appearance on his television show.

In addition to Schmidt, rumored candidates for Obama’s “CTO” position include Reed Hundt, a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission who campaigned on behalf of Obama, as well as Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Schmidt, who was one of the president-elect’s most high-profile supporters, was in Chicago Friday as part of Obama’s 17-person economic transition economic advisory board. The group met to discuss how to deal with the ongoing financial crisis.

Schmidt said he detected a sense of urgency in Obama, who he expects to “listen carefully” and act. The meeting was one of “great seriousness,” he said.

Schmidt favors a new stimulus package that is more carefully focused than the previous effort. He said the first stimulus plan was “a bad decision on their part. A much better decision is to give out money that solves some other problem, like infrastructure.”

He also said Obama shares his belief that green technology can help to revitalize the economy. Laid-off autoworkers in Michigan could be put back to work building batteries for use in hybrid vehicles, Schmidt offered.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has been active in investing in green technology companies, and Schmidt has expressed a deep personal interest in the area.

When asked about the current state of advertising, Schmidt acknowledged that times were tough. Google is the dominant player in Internet search advertising.

“Advertising is one of the first things that get cut, and its almost always a mistake, because you advertise to get revenue.”

However, Schmidt said he expects advertising to bounce back quickly.

Last week, Obama made other tech-related moves, tapping two prominent industry executives to serve on his transition team to build the infrastructure for the next administration.

Advising Obama will be Julius Genchowski, the managing director of venture capital firm Rock Creek Ventures and a former general counsel for IAC, and Sonal Shah, who heads global development for, the search giant’s philanthropic arm.

Shares of Google closed the regular session down 8 cents at $331.14.

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