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Google's Schmidt named chair of think tank

CEO Eric Schmidt is promoted to chairman of board at New America Foundation think tank, which aims to transcend conventional party lines.

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt has been named as chairman of the board to the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C., that focuses on issues like health care, education, and foreign policy.

Eric Schmidt Google

Schmidt joined the board 10 years ago when the think tank, which aims to transcend conventional party lines, was founded and before he joined Google. He will assume his new role June 1 and succeeds James Fallows, author and national correspondent of the Atlantic.

"We are thrilled about (Schmidt becoming chairman) and delighted that he's willing to carve out time from an obviously very busy professional life," New America Foundation President and Chief Executive Steve Coll said in an interview. Coll, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, is a staff writer at The New Yorker and former managing editor of The Washington Post.

Given his experience at Google, Schmidt is a perfect choice to help foster an entrepreneurial spirit at the New America Foundation, Coll said. "We are trying to innovate internally and be different from other think tanks and preserve a culture of creativity and independence in a Washington world of public policy where that can sometimes be difficult," he said.

New America Foundation has one big technology initiative, "Wireless Future," in which reports have been written supporting the principle of Net neutrality. Net neutrality is the general idea that Internet service providers should avoid discriminating against certain Web sites or types of Internet traffic.

Google has lobbied heavily in favor of Net neutrality, but Coll said Schmidt has "never intervened at all in policy work" at the institute.