Neil Patel tapped to head NTIA

The Bush administration has nominated Neil Patel, an aide to vice president Dick Cheney, to head the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the federal agency overseeing the DTV converter box coupon program.

Meredith Atwell Baker, who has been heading the program as acting NTIA chief, said last week that she was leaving the agency.

Patel has been assistant secretary for domestic and economic policy to vice president Dick Cheney. Before that he was staff secretary to Cheney and is former general counsel at UUNET Technologies.

Baker has said she will stay at the agency until her successor is in place. Patel must still be vetted and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.