Microsoft exec leaves Commerce Dept.’s Digital Economy Board

Brad Smith, Microsoft's chief legal officer, has left the U.S. Commerce Department’s tech advisory board — along with more than half of the other members.

Microsoft exec leaves Commerce Dept.’s Digital Economy Board
Blair Hanley Frank

Friday saw a mass exodus of members of the Commerce Department’s Digital Economy Board of Advisors. Created by then-Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker just over a year ago, to “provide recommendations on ways to advance economic growth and opportunity in the digital age,” the board appears to be on the brink of collapse.

Nancy Scola at Politico reports:

Those no longer participating as of today (Friday, Aug. 18) include co-chairs Zoë Baird, president and CEO of the Markle Foundation; Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of the tech organization Mozilla; David L. Cohen, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at Comcast; Brad Smith, Microsoft president and chief legal officer; Handy CEO Oisin Hanrahan; Karen Bartleson, president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; Marta Tellado, president and CEO of Consumer Reports; James Manyika, director of the McKinsey Global Institute; Sonia Katyal, chancellor’s professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law; and Corey Thomas, president and CEO of cybersecurity firm Rapid7.

The Board last released a report on Dec. 15, 2016. By outward appearances, it has been inactive since President Trump took office.

Politico quotes a Microsoft spokesperson as saying, “Effective today, Brad is no longer a member of the group.” There was no additional statement. If one is forthcoming, it will likely appear on the Microsoft News Center site.

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