Obama to tap Symantec CEO for commerce secretary?

Is Obama raiding high-tech's best and brightest?

Symantec CEO John Thompson is in the running for U.S. secretary of commerce, according to published reports.

Watch a slideshow of the big-name techies who could influence President Obama.

Thompson and his wife were big fundraisers for President Barack Obama, responsible for at least $294,000 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 federal government.

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

Commerce Secretary is the last cabinet post Obama has to fill. New Mexico Gov. 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 Web site, 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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