Chessen Exits FCC

WASHINGTON: Rick Chessen, once the unofficial “DTV Czar” at the Federal Communications Commission, is leaving the FCC for the second time in four years. Chessen most recently worked as senior legal advisor to Commissioner Michael Copps, who was interim chairman before the current chairman, Julius Genachowski, was confirmed.

He will henceforth be a senior vice president for law and regulatory policy for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

Copps gave him serious, super-hero props.

“I congratulate Rick Chessen on his appointment to an important private sector position. Its gain is our loss. Rick has a most distinguished record of public service, capped by a stellar performance as acting chief of staff of the FCC from January to June of this year. (I think perhaps he did too good a job and thereby attracted covetous looks from many outside government!) Rick not only took upon himself all the arduous tasks associated with being chief of staff, but devoted the second 24 hours of each uniquely Chessen day to shepherding the Digital Television Transition to the smoothest landing it could have made under the circumstances we inherited. Nobody in the public or private sectors knew so much about DTV as Rick and his knowledge saved the country a lot of heartache--it also saved the industry and the government from what otherwise would have been an enormous consumer backlash.”

Chessen rejoined the FCC earlier this year from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP in Washington, where he went in 2005 after serving 10 years with the FCC. He previously practiced law with Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal in Chicago and Washington, D.C.
-- Deborah D. McAdams