Leading figures from Silicon Valley will meet with President-elect Donald Trump today in New York. The list of attendees reads like a who’s-who of the US tech industry. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt from Google’s parent company, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Tesla’s Elon Musk will all be in attendance.
The meeting may be a tense affair, since Trump’s proposed policies are seen as negative for the tech industry. After Trump won the election on November 8th tech stocks sank, while financials and other areas of the market enjoyed a two week rally. Tech companies rely heavily on the H-1B visa to bring skilled workers to the US. This is a visa that Trump voiced his opposition to during his campaign.
Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has been an outspoken opponent of Trump and the newspaper he owns – The Washington Post – reported aggressively against Trump during and after his successful campaign. Bezos has more recently promised to keep an “open mind” to Trump’s presidency.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick have been named as strategic advisors to the President-elect. The appointment of Musk may show a more open minded approach to renewable energy from Trump, who, during his campaign, had been seen to favor traditional fossil fuels and natural gas. Musk’s company specializes in electric cars and just unveiled a new solar roof technology.
Trump held a similar private meeting with media executives shortly after the election, in which he heavily criticized them for negative reporting and their failure to anticipate his win. This meeting, although possibly a tense affair, may be a chance for Trump and the tech industry to reconcile their differences and for tech leaders to raise their hopes and concerns for their sector of the US economy under a Trump presidency.