TechNet Executives Meet with President Obama; Call on U.S. Policymakers to Spur Innovation Critical to Economic Growth

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March 14, 2013

TechNet Executives Meet with President Obama; Call on U.S. Policymakers to Spur Innovation Critical to Economic Growth

Over 100 Leading Tech Execs Also Urge Swift Action This Year on High Skilled Immigration Reform 

Washington, D.C. – A number of TechNet member executives today met with President Barack Obama during the organization’s TechNet Day. The annual CEO fly-in provides more than 30 leading technology CEO’s with an opportunity to meet policymakers and advocate for policies and initiatives to spur America’s innovation economy.

The TechNet executives also met with bipartisan leadership from the U.S. House and Senate and delivered a clear message on the importance of high-skilled immigration reform to the economy. To demonstrate broad support, TechNet delivered a letter from more than 100 top technology executives to President Obama and Congressional leaders advocating for enactment of high-skilled immigration reform this year. TechNet executives also discussed top policy priorities including comprehensive tax reform, cyber security and privacy. TechNet also announced that Marissa Mayer, Yahoo!’s CEO, president and director, and Safra Catz, Oracle’s president and CFO were appointed to TechNet’s Executive Council.

“TechNet and a number of our CEO members today were honored to meet with President Obama at the White House,” said Rey Ramsey, president and CEO of TechNet.  “There was broad agreement in this discussion that getting innovation policy right is absolutely critical to U.S. economic growth. The President shared with us his efforts to improve the economy, grow jobs and address fiscal issues.  He also spoke of the need for high-skilled immigration, STEM and tax reform – policies that are critical to spur cutting-edge discovery here in America. We were also delighted to meet today with Congressional policymakers on both sides of the aisle committed to ensuring the U.S. remains the global home of innovation. We look forward to continued partnerships in this endeavor.”

TechNet Day opened with an inaugural Politico/TechNet CEO Roundtable discussion focusing on “Ideas on Innovation and Growing the Economy.” The event featured key TechNet executives and others including: John Doerr, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Weili Dai, co-founder, Marvell Technologies; John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco; Steve Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution, LLC and former CEO of America Online (AOL); and Charles Scharf, CEO of Visa.

In the letter to President Obama on high skilled immigration reform, the more than 100 technology executives wrote: “One of the biggest economic challenges facing our nation is the need for more qualified, highly-skilled professionals, domestic and foreign, who can create jobs and immediately contribute to and improve our economy. As leaders of technology companies from around the country, we want to thank you for your sincere efforts in addressing high skilled immigration and we urge that you and your colleagues enact reform legislation this year.”

Signatories to the letter, among others, included: Randal Stephenson, Chairman and CEO, AT&T; KR Sridhar, CEO, Bloom Energy; John Donahoe, CEO, eBay; Timothy Healy, CEO, EnerNOC; Mark Zuckerberg, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO, Facebook; Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google; Meg Whitman, President and CEO, Hewlett-Packard; Paul Otellini, CEO, Intel; John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers; Matt McIlwain, Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group; Bradford L. Smith, General Counsel and EVP, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft; Bob Greifeld, CEO, NASDAQ OMX; Safra Catz, President and CFO, Oracle; Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, Aart de Geus, Chairman and Co-CEO, Synopsys; Chairman and CEO, Qualcomm; Steve Case, Chairman and CEO, Revolution LLC; Ron Conway, Partner, SV Angels; Rey Ramsey, CEO, TechNet; Marissa Mayer, CEO, President and Director, Yahoo!; and Mark Pincus, CEO, Zynga.

For a full copy of the letter, visit www.technet.org.

In conjunction with TechNet Day, TechNet also unveiled a new survey from Zogby Analytics that shows Americans strongly support an open and flexible immigration system to embrace highly skilled workers. The study demonstrates broad support for R&D, corporate tax reform and more federal government focus on science, technology, education and math (STEM) education.

Highlights of the TechNet/Zogby Analytics survey:

  • Support for High Skilled Immigration: 63 percent of likely voters believe that the U.S. faces a shortage of high skilled workers and that immigration policy should encourage highly skilled workers to stay in the country.  At the same time, 63 percent say immigration policy should encourage highly skilled workers to stay in the country.
  • U.S. Innovation Status on Global Stage: Americans are also worried that we may be losing our global edge in innovation as nearly 43 percent believe the next major technology or innovation product will come from China while only 30 percent believe this discovery will come from the United States.
  • Support for STEM Education: An overwhelming majority of Americans (77 percent) expressed their support for increased spending STEM education, while a majority of those polled (56 percent) strongly support using visa related fees to fund more STEM education.  Nearly 6 in 10 Americans (58 percent) do not believe the federal government spends enough on promoting STEM education.
  • R&D Merits Strong Support: Over three quarters (77 percent) of respondents support (somewhat or strongly) more federal support for corporate R&D programs.
  • Support for Corporate Tax Reform: 70 percent believe the U.S. tax code should put American companies on an equal footing with their foreign competitors.  Three in four Americans (74 percent) also support simplification of corporate tax rates to help businesses stay more competitive in the global economy and a strong majority (62 percent) agrees that reduced corporate tax rates will lead to more hiring.

Zogby Analytics was commissioned by TechNet to conduct an online survey of 1000 U.S. adults. The survey was conducted from March 4-5, 2013 with a margin of error of +/- 3.2%. More details about the survey can be found at www.technet.org.

About TechNet:

TechNet is the national, bipartisan network of CEOs that promotes the growth of technology industries and the economy by building long-term relationships between technology leaders and policymakers and by advocating a targeted policy agenda. TechNet’s members represent more than one million employees in the fields of information technology, biotechnology, e-commerce and finance. TechNet has offices in Washington, D.C., Palo Alto, Sacramento, Seattle, Boston and Austin. Web address: www.technet.org. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @technetupdate.

For more information, please contact Jim Hock at 202-463-0013 ext. 202 or moc.364null@kcoh.mij

 

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