Wheeler to Leave FCC Next Month

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has decided it's time to say goodbye to the Commission after all.

Wheeler announced this morning that he plans to step down from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on January 20, the day that Donald Trump is slated to be sworn in as the next US president. The move comes after Wheeler, a close adviser to President Obama, headed the agency for more than three years, steering it through one of the most active and contentious periods in its history.

Wheeler issued the following statement: "Serving as F.C.C. Chairman during this period of historic technological change has been the greatest honor of my professional life. I am deeply grateful to the President for giving me this opportunity. I am especially thankful to the talented Commission staff for their service and sacrifice during my tenure. Their achievements have contributed to a thriving communications sector, where robust investment and world-leading innovation continue to drive our economy and meaningful improvements in the lives of the American people. It has been a privilege to work with my fellow Commissioners to help protect consumers, strengthen public safety and cybersecurity, and ensure fast, fair and open networks for all Americans."

Although Wheeler's term as chairman was coming to an end because he's a Democratic appointee and the FCC will now shift to Republican leadership under the new president, he did not have to step down from the agency right away. Technically, his term continues until November 2018. There had been speculation that he might remain as one of the two Democratic members of the five-person Commission, but Wheeler has decided against that course. (See FCC on the Verge of 2-2 Split and Trump Win Will Reshape FCC .)

We'll have more on this breaking story later in the day.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

mendyk 12/15/2016 | 5:22:51 PM
Re: Career move You could kind of ask the same questions about the President-elect. But I agree -- a normal person would exit stage left and enjoy what's left of his time on this mortal coil.
Duh! 12/15/2016 | 1:02:14 PM
Re: Career move I'd bet on retirement.  Maybe a few board seats.  Possibly a visiting fellow or something like that at some think tank.  Write more books. Fundraising for the 2018 election. Indulge his hobbies and his grandkids. 

Really. The man is 71. He doesn't need the money. The FCC chair is a logical capstone to his career. He's made his mark.  Why would he want to go through the revolving door?
brooks7 12/15/2016 | 12:14:45 PM
Re: Makes sense Politicians don't care about Legacy.  They care about getting the next gig.


Joe Stanganelli 12/15/2016 | 12:04:59 PM
Makes sense It sort of makes sense.  With a Congress and White House likely set on dismantling what could be called his "legacy," he's probably been, shall we say, "active on LinkedIn."
Joe Stanganelli 12/15/2016 | 12:03:02 PM
Re: Career move @mendyk: I certainly don't think it'll be any major telco!  ;)
mendyk 12/15/2016 | 10:53:58 AM
Career move OK, so what lobbying position does he move into next?
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