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Tom Wheeler tipped as next FCC chief

Agency won't confirm yet, but veteran wireless executive, lobbyist and entrepreneur is reported to be Obama's choice

By CAROLINE GABRIEL

Published: 1 May, 2013

READ MORE: People/Management | US | Regulator

The successor to Julius Genachowski as FCC chairman is likely to be Tom Wheeler, a veteran of wireless industry associations and government projects.

He has already served as an informal adviser to President Obama on telecoms affairs, and may bring some useful insights to the sporadic spectrum turf wars between mobile and TV sectors, having been head of the National Cable TV Association from 1979 to 1984.


Wheeler was head of the mobile carriers' association, the CTIA, until 2004 and since then has been a member of venture capital company Core Capital; co-founded several companies in the telecoms and video spaces, as well as online targeted news service SmartBrief; and in 2009 he led the Obama-Biden Transition Project's agency review working group, overseeing transitions for science, technology, space and arts agencies.

The FCC did not comment on the Reuters report that Wheeler would take the chair and the news agency indicates, citing a White House official, that FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn will be acting chairwoman until the Senate confirms a new nomination.

Genachowski announced his resignation on March 22, saying he would step down in the "coming weeks" after almost four years. His period in office saw the introduction of the National Broadband Plan; proposals to overhaul the Universal Service Fund; successive telco M&A dramas, notably the failed attempt by AT&T to buy T-Mobile; and the beginnings of LTE roll-out.

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