the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Welcomes CEOs to White House Forum on Modernizing Government

Technology Gap, Customer Service Problems Focus of Discussions – Fact Sheet Attached

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of his commitment to change how business is done in Washington and instill a new sense of responsibility for taxpayer dollars, the President welcomed more than 50 of the country’s top CEOs to the White House Forum on Modernizing Government.

Information technology has transformed how the private sector operates – and revolutionized the ease, convenience, and effectiveness by which it serves its customers. The government has a lot to learn from the private sector. That’s why the President called for this Forum; he wanted to hear from those on the frontlines –from those far removed from Washington – who are using technology to save money and improve performance.

“I want us to ask ourselves every day, how are we using technology to make a real difference in people’s lives,” said President Obama. “Improving the technology our government uses isn’t about having the fanciest bells and whistles on our websites – it’s about how we use the American people’s hard-earned tax dollars to make government work better for them.”

One specific source of ineffective and inefficient government is the huge technology gap between the public and private sectors that results in billions of dollars in waste, slow and inadequate customer service, and a lack of transparency about how dollars are spent. 

“Twenty years ago, people who came to work in the federal government had better technology at work than at home. Now, that’s no longer the case,” White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orszag explained.  “The American people deserve better service from their government, and better return for their tax dollars. It’s time to bring government into the 21st century.  Information technology has the power to transform how government works, and revolutionize the ease, convenience, and effectiveness by which it serves the American people.”

The White House Forum on Modernizing Government will kick off with remarks by the President, and then the CEOs, government and labor officials, and government leaders will split up into smaller discussion groups organized around the following topics: streamlining government operations, improving customer service, and maximizing return on IT investments. Additional information about the discussion groups and the participants is available HERE.

After the Forum, the White House will seek ideas from the public about how government can improve its use of technology.  A report from OMB will summarize the Forum’s findings with an implementation plan containing a timeline, milestones, key challenges, ownership and accountability.  Informal networks of CEOs, deputy secretaries, and department chief information officers will continue to work together to spark improvements across the government.

This Forum is part of a larger effort to streamline what works and eliminate what doesn’t in the federal government. This past year, the President launched an effort to save $40 billion by ending wasteful contracting practices, kicked off the SAVE Award to hear from frontline government workers ideas to save money and improve performance, and ordered a line-by-line review of the budget to make sure we invest in what works.

The President first proposed the idea for the forum in his weekly address on April 25, 2009.

Participants in today’s forum include:

  • Shantanu Narayen, Adobe Technology
  • John McGlade, Air Products & Chemicals, Inc.
  • Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa Consumer Goods
  • Angie Hicks, Angie’s List
  • Cheryl Milone, Article One Partners
  • Andrea Jung, Avon
  • Debra Lee, BET Networks
  • Gregory Page, Cargill, Inc.
  • David Dougherty, Convergys
  • Craig Newmark, Craigslist
  • Samuel Allen, Deere & Co.
  • John Riccitiello, Electronic Arts, Inc.
  • Pam Nicholson, Enterprise
  • Chris Hughes, Facebook
  • Michael Thompson, Fair Oaks Farms
  • Ping Fu, Geomagic
  • Wendy Lea, GetSatisfaction
  • Andrew Mason, Groupon
  • Daniel Weirich, GW Micro
  • Al Fuller, Integrated Packaging
  • Mickey Drexler, J.Crew
  • Carl Camden, Kelly Services Staffing
  • James Crowe, Level 3 Communications, Inc.
  • Bill McComb, Liz Claiborne, Inc.
  • Jeff Joerres, Manpower, Inc.
  • Steve Ballmer, Microsoft
  • Sal Iannuzzi,
  • Punita Pandey, netCustomer
  • Jeffrey Jordan, OpenTable
  • Charles Harrington, Parsons Corp.
  • Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo
  • Peter Darbee, PG&E Corp.
  • Robert Glaser, Real Networks
  • Tom Adams, Rosetta Stone
  • Sam Gilliland, Sabre Holdings
  • Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines
  • Daniel Hesse, Sprint Nextel
  • Ronald Sargent, Staples
  • John Chen, Sybase, Inc.
  • James Kennedy, T. Rowe Price
  • Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner
  • Dan Bane, Trader Joe’s
  • Glenn Tilton, United Airlines
  • Scott Davis, UPS
  • David Segura, VisionIT
  • Daniel Fulton, Weyerhaeuser
  • Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool
  • Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp
  • Harold Mills, Zero Chaos