The Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Raffi Krikorian is resigning from his position after holding it for two years, during which he helped the party reform and modernize its data practices and digital security in light of DNC hacks during the 2016 presidential election, according to a published report.
Previously serving as Twitter’s vice president of engineering and helming Uber’s self-driving cars project, Krikorian originally hailed from the California commercial tech industry. As Krikorian departs from the DNC, he will return to California and join a philanthropy company, the Emerson Collective, which was founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, Buzzfeed News reported last week.
Krikorian began his first job in politics as the DNC CTO in summer 2017, just one year after hackers stole and leaked DNC emails that uncovered allegedly unfair bias against Bernie Sanders and led former party chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to resign.
To help build morale from the hacking incident, Krikorian initiated various structural changes within the DNC, such as helping it move its data operations in-house for the first time. He also taught DNC Chair Tom Perez how to use an encrypted messaging app, mandated regular phishing drills, and pressured state parties to update their own practices. Furthermore, Krikorian brought in former Yahoo executive Bob Lord to serve as chief security officer.
A DNC official said that since 2017, Krikorian grew the DNC technology department from 14 staffers and a reliance on contractors to 40 full-time employees, and leading to his departure, Krikorian and his team have worked to ensure the 2020 Democratic candidates are prepared to guard against foreign cyberattacks.
As Krikorian departs, his deputy Lindsey Schuh Cortés will serve as acting CTO while the DNC searches for a full-time replacement.