Top American tech execs to meet with Trump

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Top American tech execs to meet with Trump

Amazon.com Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk will be among those attending President-elect Donald Trump’s gathering of technology industry leaders Wednesday in New York, people familiar with the matter said.

An invitation to the meeting went out last week from members of Trump’s transition team. Venture capitalist Peter Thiel, Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz, Cisco Systems’ Chuck Robbins and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg plan to attend. Alphabet’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt will be there too, as will Apple’s Tim Cook, according to people familiar with the matter. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty - who is on Trump’s advisory panel of business leaders - will also attend, said a person familiar with her plans.

The main topic of the meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday is likely to be job creation, one of the people said.

While support for Trump was thin among technology executives during the presidential campaign, Bezos and Trump clashed the most publicly. The Amazon founder mockingly tweeted that he would send the Republican candidate to space on one of his rockets, and Trump accused Bezos of purchasing the Washington Post to gain political influence in the nation’s capital to help his growing e-commerce empire.

Bezos is doing the responsible thing for Amazon shareholders in attending the summit even though it promises to be a “groveling session made for reality TV,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. “Bezos has to participate because he and his company were singled out,” Pachter said. “He has to be honorable and protect his shareholders.”

Technology leaders in Silicon Valley and beyond had openly signaled an uneasiness with Trump, with most favoring Hillary Clinton - contributions to her campaign were 114 times the level they were for Trump, according to statistics compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Over the summer, a group of about 140 industry figures sent an open letter decrying Trump’s views on immigration, internet security and government investment, which they said would stifle innovation and growth.

Other significant issues for the industry that could be discussed are possible repatriation of overseas earnings and corporate tax reform, said Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Cisco’s Robbins said those issues are among “pretty important potential changes we could see in the corporate arena” under Trump.

The gathering will also be a chance for tech’s leaders to find some common ground with the new administration.


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