Change is in the air at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The agency’s chairman, Julius Genachowski, announced yesterday that he will be stepping down on Friday, May 17. (He had announced his plans to leave the FCC in March, but the date of his departure has been uncertain since then.) Until his successor is confirmed by the Senate, the longest-serving Democratic Commissioner, Mignon Clyburn, will act as the interim head of the FCC. Also leaving the FCC next week is Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell, who has been an FCC Commissioner since 2006.
President Obama has nominated Tom Wheeler as Chairman Genachowki’s successor to lead the FCC. Unusual for FCC chairs, Wheeler is not a lawyer, but he would come to the agency with significant experience and understanding of technology, media and telecommunications policy matters. He has lead two industry trade associations, the National Cable Television Association and the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. Today, he is a venture capitalist. His blog on communications issues can be found here. Wheeler will have to be confirmed by the Senate before he can assume the chairmanship. There has been no public announcement yet on a nominee to replace Commissioner McDowell.