President Trump has tapped a top aide of Peter Thiel (best known for co-founding PayPal, investing in Facebook, and killing Gawker) as deputy chief technology officer.
Michael Kratsios, who worked as chief of staff at Thiel Capital, was appointed the role on Friday, according to Politico and TechCrunch. He will be stepping into a position that was last held by former Twitter general counsel Alexander Macgillivray.
The White House hasn’t yet appointed a U.S. chief technology officer, a position that was created by President Barack Obama in 2009. The officer heads the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which, among other things, advises the president on the intersection of science and technology with domestic and international affairs.
Aneesh Chopra was the first person appointed U.S. CTO after holding a similar position in Virginia, followed by entrepreneur Todd Park. Former vice president of Google, Megan Smith, was the most recent person to hold the position.
In an interview with TechCrunch last September, Smith said the government was just at the beginning of improving its work with technology.
“The use of tech and tech innovation is at the core of our country,” Smith told TechCrunch. “It’s a work in progress, and we’ve started and set up a lot of things that are going to continue to grow. It’s only going to accelerate.”
Kratsios’ appointment furthers an already cozy relationship Thiel has with the White House. The billionaire donated more than a million dollars to Trump’s campaign and spoke at the Republican National Convention. He has said that he plans to work with the White House in an unofficial capacity. Thiel first flexed that muscle in December, organizing a meeting between Trump and several high-profile tech executives.