Obama to Tap Tech Adviser Julius Genachowski as FCC Chief Article

Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2009 09:44 am
JANUARY 13, 2009
Obama to Tap Tech Adviser as FCC Chief Article

WASHINGTON -- President-elect Barack Obama intends to nominate his technology adviser, Julius Genachowski, to head the Federal Communications Commission, a Democratic source close to the Obama transition team said.

Mr. Genachowski, 46 years old, is a former Harvard Law School classmate of Mr. Obama. He previously worked at the FCC during the Clinton administration. More recently, he co-founded LaunchBox Digital, a Washington, D.C.-based venture capital firm. He worked at Barry Diller's IAC/InterActive Corp. in various executive positions for eight years after leaving the FCC.

Mr. Genachowski couldn't be reached for comment. A spokeswoman for the Obama transition team declined to comment.

During the campaign, Mr. Genachowski served as the top technology adviser to Mr. Obama, putting together a detailed technology and innovation plan that expressed support for open Internet or "net neutrality" protections; media-ownership rules that encourage more diversity; and expansion of affordable broadband access across the country.

An early supporter of the president-elect, Mr. Genachowski also served as a bundler for the campaign, raising more than $500,000 in donations.

If confirmed, Mr. Genachowski will take over an agency that has had rocky relations with Congress and major companies in the telecommunications industry under current FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. The agency may also still be coping with the U.S.'s transition to digital-only television, which is scheduled to take place Feb. 17 but could be pushed back to the summer.

While at IAC, Mr. Genachowski served several roles at the media and e-commerce conglomerate, first as general counsel and later as head of business development and part of the top core of executives.

"Shira Ovide contributed to this article.
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Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2009 09:50 am
Obama to name Julius Genachowski as FCC chief
The venture capitalist was an architect of Obama's Internet outreach efforts, which resulted in record amounts of campaign funds raised online. He was chief counsel to a former FCC chairman.
By Jim Puzzanghera
January 13, 2009

Reporting from Washington -- President-elect Barack Obama plans to nominate Julius Genachowski to be chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, a Democratic official said Monday.

Genachowski, a former Harvard Law School classmate of Obama's, is a co-founder and managing director of Rock Creek Ventures, a Washington venture capital firm specializing in digital media and e-commerce companies. Before that, he spent eight years as an executive at Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp.

During the campaign, Genachowski was a key technology advisor and fundraiser.

Genachowski served as chief counsel to former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt from 1994 to 1997. He was a clerk to two Supreme Court justices -- David H. Souter and William J. Brennan Jr. -- and has worked on Capitol Hill.

If confirmed by the Senate, Genachowski would take over the FCC in an administration that seeks to increase access to high-speed Internet service nationwide. The FCC plays a key role in monitoring the nation's Internet capacity.

Obama's campaign drew strong support from Internet activists by advocating that telecommunications companies be prevented from charging websites for faster delivery of their content, an issue known as network neutrality. Genachowski was one of the architects of Obama's Internet outreach efforts, which resulted in record amounts of funds raised online.

The FCC also is one of the agencies overseeing the switch to all-digital broadcast television. Obama's transition team chairman last week urged Congress to delay the Feb. 17 switch because a program to help consumers make the change ran out of money.

Genachowski would take over from Republican Kevin J. Martin.
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