Originally published: May 5, 2013
Last updated: May 5, 2013 - 5:30pm
If you were looking for some good news out of Washington, you finally got some with the President’s announcement that he is nominating Tom Wheeler to be the next Chairman of the FCC.
Tom will be an outstanding Chairman. I am confident of that because I have known Tom for almost three decades and I have watched him succeed at everything else he has done over a long career. If you were putting together the ideal candidate for an FCC Chairman, you would want someone who understands the industry, possibly with experience in the broadband and wireless industries. You likely would seek a candidate who understands the regulatory and legislative processes. It would be helpful if that candidate had business experience, had advised businesses, started businesses, run businesses or served on the boards of businesses. If that candidate had relationships with key industry leaders, that would be a major plus. But it would also be helpful if the public interest community had worked with and trusted that candidate. And since America is the global technology leader, how about some international experience? That would be a good thing, as would be service on boards of global technology organizations and nonprofit organizations that use technology to solve societal issues. America faces significant challenges in protecting our telecommunications infrastructure. The next Chairman of the FCC needs to have an understanding of the prospects of disruptive attacks or systems failures caused by natural disasters and should have a knowledge of and working relationship with the organizations and the officials tasked with protecting that infrastructure. And an ideal candidate should have a close working relationship with key leaders in the White House and yet be strong enough to be the independent leader and thinker that an independent regulatory agency requires. On all of the above criteria, Tom Wheeler passes the test. He is an experienced leader with exceptional communications skills AND organizational skills. Those are not qualities found in one person very often.