Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Competitive Telecom Agenda: FCC Chairman Genachowski Announces Further Staff Appointments 07/29/09 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski today announced the appointment of senior staff in the Media, Enforcement, and Wireline Competition Bureaus of the Commission; and in the Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO), and Office of the General Counsel (OGC).

As seen in both the appointment by President Obama of Chairman Genachowski himself, and in many of the Chairman's staff, if today's FCC senior staff appointees have anything in common in their careers in government, law, and academia, it is the pursuit of policy agendas generally favoring increased competition in the American telecom industry.

William Lake will serve as Media Bureau Chief, while Sharon E. Gillett will become the new Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau. Appointments were also announced for Media Bureau Deputy Chiefs Robert Ratcliffe and Kris Monteith, and Enforcement Bureau Deputy Chief Suzanne Tetreault.

“This extraordinarily talented senior staff has extensive experience in the private sector, the academy, and the public sector, including here at the FCC and in state government,” said Chairman Genachowski, in a press release (download .PDF) issued by FCC today.

“With their help, the agency will pursue policies that advance a vibrant media sector, unleash innovation and job creation, protect consumers, and promote competition," concluded the Commission Chairman.

In a separate press statement of today (download .PDF), Genachowski also announced appointments in the Commission's OCBO, and the OGC. These positions include: OCBO Director Thomas Reed, OCBO Senior Deputy Director Carolyn Fleming Williams, and Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd.

While each of the appointments announced today is to a senior staff position at the Commission, none require Senate confirmation.

Observers of state broadband programs and policies, and readers of, will recognize that Ms. Sharon E. Gillett has been serving as Executive Director of the state broadband program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI). As we reported at the time, she was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA) to the position on April 29, having previously served as Patrick's chief communications industry regulator as Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable (DTC).

The Governor and Director Gillett keynoted a press event in the broadband unserved / udnerserved area of Western Massachusetts yesterday, which announced the inter-agency launch of the State's middle mile network project developed by MBI and MassHighway, the Commonwealth's surface transportation agency.

Early this evening the Patrick Administration released a statement on the Gillett federal appointment by State Assistant Secretary for Housing and Economic Development C. Stanley McGee, “It is with a mix of sadness and pride that I am writing to let you know that Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) director Sharon Gillett has accepted an appointment from the White House as Bureau Chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau. Sharon’s expertise in broadband and other telecommunications issues makes her a valuable asset for the FCC in this significant national leadership position; our loss is America’s gain.”

From the Commission's press releases of today, the professional biographies of the appointees announced, links and (text) added:

Enforcement Bureau

Deputy Chief, Enforcement Bureau, Suzanne Tetreault: Ms. Tetreault is currently serving as Acting Deputy Chief of the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, overseeing the work of the Disabilities Rights Office and Consumer Policy Division. Since 1991, Ms. Tetreault has held a variety of positions at the Commission, including Chief of Staff of the Enforcement Bureau, Acting Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau, and Deputy Associate General Counsel. Prior to joining the Commission, Ms. Tetreault worked at the Federal Trade Commission, and practiced antitrust and communications law with Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue. Ms. Tetreault will serve as Acting Chief beginning August 10, 2009.

Media Bureau

Chief, Media Bureau, William Lake: Mr. Lake most recently served as the head of the DTV task force at the FCC. Previously, Mr. Lake was a partner at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C., where he led the communications regulatory practice for many years. In government, Mr. Lake has previously held positions at the Department of State, EPA, and the Council on Environmental Quality. He began his legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable John M. Harlan of the U.S Supreme Court and the Honorable Henry J. Friendly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Deputy Chief, Media Bureau, Robert Ratcliffe: Mr. Ratcliffe most recently served as the Acting Chief of the Media Bureau. Previously, he was a Deputy Chief of the Enforcement Bureau, where he was responsible for media enforcement matters. Prior to his assignment to the Enforcement Bureau, Mr. Ratcliffe spent more than 20 years in various positions in the Media Bureau and its predecessors, including Deputy Chief of the Bureau, senior legal advisor to the Bureau Chief and Assistant Chief of the Video Services Division and the Policy and Rules Division. He also served as interim legal advisor on media issues to former Chairman Alfred Sikes in 1989. Mr. Ratcliffe began his career at the FCC in the original Cable Television Bureau, where he served as Chief of the Policy Review and Development Division and the Research Division before the bureau was combined with the Broadcast Bureau in the early 1980s.

Deputy Chief, Media Bureau, Kris Monteith: Ms. Monteith has been at the FCC for 12 years, most recently as Chief of the Enforcement Bureau and Deputy Bureau Chief for Outreach and Intergovernmental Affairs in the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. Ms. Monteith previously served as Chief of the Policy Division of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Deputy Chief of the former Common Carrier Bureau's Competitive Pricing Division, the Designated Federal Official to the North American Numbering Council, and as a Senior Attorney in the then-Common Carrier Bureau's Network Services Division. Before joining the Commission in 1997, Ms. Monteith was in private practice with the law firms of McDermott, Will & Emery and Keller and Heckman. Ms. Monteith’s appointment will become effective August 10, 2009.

Wireline Competition Bureau

Chief of Wireline Competition Bureau, Sharon Gillett: Ms. Gillett is the Director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute and previously served as the head of the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable. Ms. Gillett was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1995-2006, where she engaged in academic research, program management, and teaching focused on Internet and telecommunications policy and technology, with a particular focus on broadband. Before joining MIT, Ms. Gillett was a software engineer and manager at Thinking Machines Corp. and BBN Communications Corp. (now BBN Technologies), where she worked on ARPANET computer networking technology. Ms. Gillett will become Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau on August 28, 2009.

Office of Communications Business Opportunities

Director, Office of Communications Business Opportunities, Thomas Reed: Mr. Reed most recently was Of Counsel at K&L Gates LLP in Washington, DC, where his practice focused on a broad range of issues including commercial litigation, corporate governance, investment management, and civil rights. At K&L, Mr. Reed specialized in regulatory issues affecting women and minority-owned businesses. He has worked extensively with some of the nation's largest organizations that advocate for women and minority-owned business and is a regular commentator on disadvantaged business enterprise certification procedures. He has also served as Legal Counsel to the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Before joining K&L, Mr. Reed was a Senior Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Senior Deputy Director, Office of Communications Business Opportunities, Carolyn Fleming Williams: Carolyn Fleming-Williams most recently served as Director of the Office of Communications Business Opportunities, FCC. During her 15-year tenure with the Commission, she has also served as a Senior Attorney-Advisor with the Media Bureau. Prior to joining the Commission, Ms. Fleming-Williams served as corporate counsel with the Communications Satellite Corporation (COMSAT). She was also an associate attorney with the law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, now K&L Gates LLP. Prior to joining K&L, she was an Honors Attorney with the U.S. Department of the Treasury. She has also served as President of DC Habitat for Humanity and as a Fairfax County Commissioner for Civil Service.

Office of General Counsel

Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer, Mark Lloyd: Mr. Lloyd was most recently the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights/ Education Fund, where he oversaw media and telecom initiatives. Mr. Lloyd also has been an adjunct professor of public policy at the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute and a visiting scholar at MIT, teaching communications policy. Previously Mr. Lloyd has been a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, the General Counsel of the Benton Foundation, and an attorney at Dow, Lohnes & Albertson. Before becoming a communications lawyer, Mr. Lloyd had a distinguished career as a broadcast journalist, including work at NBC and CNN.

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