Outgoing FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is making way for Tom Wheeler. President Obama nominated Wheeler, a venture capitalist and lobbyist, to the Federal Communications Commission's top spot on Wednesday.
Wheeler led the National Cable Television Association in the 1980s and was CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association for 12 years starting in 1992.
"If anybody's wondering about Tom's qualifications, Tom is the only member of both the cable television and the wireless industry hall of fame," Obama noted in a press conference in the nation's capital.
Wheeler's experience in the wireless industry will likely prove valuable as the FCC is at the forefront of rapid advancements in technology and is actively involved in how spectrum is distributed.
"At this exciting time in this important sector, I can attest to Tom's commitment to harness the power of communications technology to improve people's lives, to drive our global competitiveness, and to advance the public interest," said Genachowski. "The FCC's role has never been more essential, and with Tom's deep policy expertise and his first-hand experience as a technology investor, he is a superb choice to advance the FCC's mission of promoting innovation, investment, competition, and consumer protection."
“On behalf of the nation’s State utility regulators, we congratulate Mr. Wheeler on his pending nomination," added Philip Jones, president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. "He is coming to the Federal Communications Commission at a critical time, with new technologies driving innovation and the market every day. These changes underscore the need for smart, nimble regulations which protect consumers but do not constrain market forces. We look forward to working with Mr. Wheeler once confirmed."
Commissioner Mignon Clyburn will serve as acting chair while Wheeler goes through the Senate's confirmation process. Genachowski is set to depart in the middle of this month.
Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.