After a months-long search, TechNet has named Rey Ramsey as its new president and CEO.
The decision comes as the high-tech lobbying group, which represents industry CEOs, moves to broaden its vision and scope.
“My view is that we have private innovation and we have social innovation and we need to try to converge the two,— Ramsey said.
That means TechNet will focus its efforts on green innovation, jobs, education and broadband infrastructure under Ramsey’s leadership.
Additionally, TechNet will continue its mission to open trade barriers.
“It’s important to me that we at TechNet bring more people to the table,— Ramsey said. “I don’t view my work only in the halls of the Capitol, but also in state capitals and meeting with groups that might not be seen as traditional allies.—
Ramsey will officially start at TechNet in January. He is bringing his chief of staff, Brian Reichart, with him.
TechNet also announced that TechNet members Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel Corp., and Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google, will be joining the organization’s executive committee.
Ramsey’s hire, first reported by Roll Call, comes after the announcement in April that then-CEO Lezlee Westine was leaving for the Personal Care Products Council.
TechNet’s search committee was choosing between Ramsey and Mary Beth Cahill, former head of EMILY’s List and manager of Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) 2004 failed presidential bid, according to tech lobbyists.
Korn/Ferry International served as the headhunting firm for the search.
Ramsey joins the group after serving as CEO of One Economy Corp. The nonprofit, co-founded by Ramsey in 2000, tries to improve the lives of low-income people by facilitating broadband access in their homes. Prior to founding One Economy, Ramsey worked as chief operating officer and president of the Enterprise Foundation and in the cabinet of two governors of Oregon, working as the state’s director of housing and community services.
During the beginning of 2010, Ramsey will remain chairman of One Economy.
Westine’s exit had fueled rumors on K Street that TechNet would merge with another tech association, such as the Information Technology Industry Council or the Information Technology Association of America.
Her departure followed that of two other lobbyists for the trade group: Bret Wincup, who joined the Information Technology Industry Council in March 2008, and Michael Platt, who led TechNet’s grass-roots lobbying efforts and joined the Recording Industry Association of America in June of that year.
Betsy Mullins remains TechNet’s only registered lobbyist.
However, the group’s decision to reinvest in Washington, D.C., by hiring Ramsey appears to have quelled merger discussions for now. Ramsey said he expects to do a thorough review of the group’s in-house capability and will add people as needed.
Formed in 1997, TechNet is a bipartisan association of high-tech leaders that lobbies on everything from education to Internet fees. TechNet has spent $120,000 this year on lobbying.
The group has largely been known for its fundraising prowess in Silicon Valley.
Ramsey, a registered Democrat, said he has a history of bipartisanship. At One Economy, he worked with Democrats and Republicans, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in getting their support on his creation of the Public Internet Channel, a site that bills itself as helping people live better lives.