Michael Kratsios, United States Chief Technology Officer, was the keynote speaker on Friday, February 21, 2020.
Kratsios, who has served in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy since March 2017, was confirmed by unanimous voice vote by the U.S. Senate on August 1, 2019.
During the confirmation hearing held the prior week, Kratsios expressed an intention to continue with the kind of work he’d been doing for the past two-and-a-half years. “From the start, I united OSTP around a clear mission: ensure continued American leadership in emerging technologies,” he said.
“Our goals are bipartisan. We all want American innovation, built by American workers and underpinned by American values, to lead the world, increasing our prosperity, enhancing our security and raising our quality of life in the process,” something he said that as U.S. CTO, he “can ultimately chart the path to accomplish this.”
Michael Kratsios is now the highest-ranking Greek American in the Administration. He also alluded to his heritage in the hearing, stating, “ My mother and my grandfather came to the United States from native Greece in search of a more prosperous future. They instilled in me that enduring optimism for a better tomorrow. And I believe that embracing technological innovation, building new technologies in America and shaping those technologies with American values will lead us to that stronger future.”
He has been the White House’s principal technology policy advisor and a secretary-level representative of the U.S. at international meetings, including at the G7 and G20. He has led a team of policy advisors driving U.S. policy and priorities on a range of technology issues, including artificial intelligence (AI), unmanned aerial systems, autonomous vehicles, quantum computing, telecommunications, rural broadband, entrepreneurship, the digital economy, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing and STEM education.
Under his leadership, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy encourages the development of emerging technologies in the United States, empowers American companies to commercialize and adopt new technologies, and improves and expands access to the tools necessary for Americans to succeed in the 21st century economy.
Kratsios was born Michael John Kotsakas Kratsios on November 7, 1986, in Salisbury, Maryland, which is also home to the famous Sarbanes family, of former Senator Paul Sarbanes and Congressman John Sarbanes. He grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. He graduated from Princeton University in 2008 with a degree in political science and a certificate in Hellenic Studies. Kratsios received the Hellenic Studies Senior Thesis Prize. He was a visiting scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
After graduation, he worked for Barclay’s Capital and Lyford Group International, and later served as the Chief Financial Officer of Clarium Capital Management. He then became a Principal at Thiel Capital and served as Chief of Staff to entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel.
Kratsios’s mother, Maria, immigrated to the US from the Greek island of Chios. His father John’s father immigrated to the US from Kastoria in northern Greece. Kratsios grew up speaking Greek at home and is fluent in the language.