06.30.2009 08:05 AM
Genachowski Takes FCC Helm, Announces Staff
Julius Genachowski

Julius Genachowski has been sworn in as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and he has announced his staff. He takes over from Acting Chairman Michael Copps, who remains as a commissioner.

Genachowski takes over the remainder of Jonathan Adelstein’s term, who now leaves the agency. Adelstein in turn awaits a nomination hearing for the Rural Utilities Service division of the Agriculture Department.

Genachowski thanked Adelstein for his six-plus years of service at the FCC, and said he hoped to work with him in the future. Adelstein is expected to have contact with the FCC as he oversees the rural broadband rollout.

Copps meanwhile called Monday “a day of welcome and farewell,” welcoming Genachowski and saying goodbye to fellow Democrat Adelstein, saying “Jonathan and I have worked closely together on so many issues that it makes it hard for me to imagine a commission without him.”

The new chairman was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice David Souter, for whom Genachowski used to clerk.

“The FCC should be a model for excellence in government, and this extraordinarily accomplished team will help us achieve that,” said Genachowski. “The agency will benefit enormously from their leadership, from their private and public sector experience, and from their dedication to public service,” he said of his staff.

Edward Lazarus of the law firm Akin, Gump will serve as chief of staff. Colin Crowell will be senior counselor, advising the chairman on matters with responsibility for the communications, legislative, intergovernmental affairs and public liaison functions of the agency. Crowell worked for Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., for more than 20 years.

Bruce Gottlieb is now chief counsel to the chairman and senior legal advisor. He will manage the commission’s overall agenda and coordinate policy with the bureaus and in particular oversee wireless, engineering and technology, and public safety issues. Gottlieb has been legal advisor to Copps.

Priya Aiyar will be legal advisor, with responsibility for wireline competition and international issues. She was most recently a partner at the law firm Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans and Figel.

Sherrese Smith is now legal advisor, with responsibility for media, consumer and enforcement issues. She was most recently vice president and general counsel of Washington Post Digital.

Sherry Gelfand will be the chairman’s confidential assistant, coming to the commission from Soundpath Legal Conferencing in Washington.

Daniel Ornstein is the chairman’s special assistant. Ornstein comes to the FCC from CBS, where he managed new media initiatives and helped run the network's mobile business.

Mary Beth Richards is special counsel to the chairman for FCC Reform, heading up a program “to provide openness and transparency at the agency,” according to the announcement. Like Genachowski, the fellow former Reed Hundt staffer recently returned to the commission and most recently has been acting managing director of the commission.

And another fellow Reed Hundt staffer, Ruth Milkman, will lead the transition for the new chairman.


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