The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may be on the lookout for a new chairman in the coming months, as current FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is set to announce on Friday that he will be stepping down from his post, it was reported by the Wall Street Journal late Thursday.
There was no time frame for when Genachowski would reportedly be leaving the position, though his term expires in June.
The President appointed Genachowski, who had been a campaign fundraiser and a former law school classmate of Obama’s, to the position in 2009. He is the second member of the FCC to announce their resignation this week, after Commissioner Robert McDowell, the senior Republican on the panel, announced that he will be stepping down in a few weeks as well.
The two departures will leave the commission with two Democrats and one Republican, and, as Politico noted, it is very likey that Obama will choose to appoint one member of each party to fill the vacant seats, since that will make it easier to get the confirmations through the Senate.
Names for possible replacements that are being suggested include Tom Wheeler, a venture capitalist and former head of the cable and wireless trade associations, who was also a former top fundraiser for Obama, as well as Karen Kornbluh, U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Other possible candidates who are also being mentioned are Catherine Sandoval, a member of the California Public Utilities Commission; Lawrence Strickling, a top Obama administration adviser on telecom and technology policy; Blair Levin, former FCC chief of staffl and Larry Strickling, the chief of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Prior to becoming FCC chairman, Genachowski had experience in both government and the business world.
He was on the staffs of the Select Committee investigating the Iran-Contra Affair and was chief counsel to the FCC from 1996 to 1997.
Genachowski was Chief of Business Operations and a member of Barry Diller's Office of the Chairperson at IAC/InterActiveCorp. He also served on the Boards of Directors of Expedia, Hotels.com, Ticketmaster, The Motley Fool, Web.com, Mark Ecko Enterprises, Beliefnet and JackBe. He was also a co-founder of LaunchBox Digital and Rock Creek Ventures.
During Barack Obama's 2008 Presidential run, Genachowski served as Chairperson of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications Policy Working Group, and he co-led the Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform Group after Obama became President.
Under his tenor as chairman of the FCC, the Comcast/NBC-Universal deal was approved, while the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile was rejected. The FCC also approved new net neutrality rules aimed at improving transparency and restricting blocks and discrimination against users, services or content.
VatorNews has reached out to the FCC and to Genachowski to confirm this news, and we will update if and when we here more.
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