Biden aides tap Google chair for chips research effort, officials say

By Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration picked the chairman of Google parent Alphabet, John Hennessy, and four other technology industry experts to help with research-and-development of next generation computer chips, U.S. officials told Reuters.

Hennessy and the selected individuals are set to be announced by the Commerce Department on Tuesday, according to the officials, who declined to be identified. They will be responsible for picking a board of trustees to run the National Semiconductor Technology Center.

That public-private partnership was authorized to lead research on next-generation chips as part of last year’s bipartisan $52.7 billion semiconductor manufacturing and research law, which also subsidizes new chip plants. The nonprofit board is expected make politically sensitive decisions, including where in the United States to locate the center’s research facilities.

President Joe Biden wants to grow the domestic chipmaking industry to create high-paying jobs, reduce dependence on the major producers in China and Taiwan and to give the United States an edge in the advanced technologies that will power the military technologies of the future.

Economists attribute higher consumer inflation since the COVID-19 pandemic to, among other factors, insufficient chips that sparked shortages in cars, washing machines and video game consoles.

Hennessy, the Google director, is also an electrical engineering and computer science professor at Stanford University.

The selection committee also includes Deloitte Consulting principal Janet Foutty, RAND Corp chief executive Jason Matheny, Anzu Partners venture capitalist and former Qualcomm executive Don Rosenberg and education non-profit president Brenda Wilkerson.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)