Days after gaining delayed approval on his nomination to head the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler this week unveiled the staff that will assist him in his new duties as the nation’s top telecom regulator.
Those staff members include:
–Ruth Milkman as chief of staff. Milkman had previously served as chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau as well as special counsel to the chairman for innovation in government.
–Philip Verveer as senior counselor to the chairman. Verveer most recently served as
U.S. coordinator for international communications and information policy at the U.S. Department of
State, and previously served as the chief of the Cable Television Bureau, the Broadcast Bureau and the Common Carrier Bureau at the FCC.
–Gigi Sohn as special counselor for external affairs. Sohn has spent the past 12 years as president and CEO of public-interest group Public Knowledge and for the past two years as co-chair of the board of directors of the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group.
–Diane Cornell as special counsel. Cornell served as legal advisor to three commissioners, chief of
staff of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, and division chief in the International and Common
Carrier Bureaus. Cornell also served as VP of regulatory policy at wireless trade association CTIA, which Wheeler was president and CEO of from 1992 to 2004.
–Daniel Alvarez will serve as a legal advisor to the chairman responsible for issues in the
Wireline Competition and Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureaus. Alvarez has practiced
law at the firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher since 2005.
–Renee Gregory will serve as a legal advisor to the chairman responsible for issues in the
Office of Engineering and Technology and the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, as well as
incentive auction issues. Gregory has worked at the FCC since last year, first as a legal advisor
to previous FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and then as chief of staff of the Office of Engineering and Technology.
–Maria Kirby will serve as a legal advisor to the chairman responsible for issues in the
Media, Consumer and Governmental Affairs and Enforcement Bureaus. Kirby has served since
last year as a legal advisor to the chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.
–Deborah Ridley as confidential assistant to the chairman. Ridley most recently served as the executive assistant to the chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
–Sagar Doshi as special assistant to the chairman. Doshi has previous experience at Google and Protocol Link.
–Jon Sallet will serve as interim director of the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force and will
become acting general counsel. Sallet will replace Sean Lev, who is set to leave his position at the FCC by the end of the year.
–Jon Wilkins will serve as acting managing director and advisor to the chairman for management. Wilkins most recently worked at McKinsey & Co., where he has been a partner in the firm’s Telecommunications, Media and Technology practice since 2003. Wilkins also served on the Obama-
Biden Transition Project in 2008 as a member of the senior leadership group for agency review, a project Wheeler was also a part of.
–Roger Sherman was named acting chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. Sherman previously served as the Democratic chief counsel to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and as Democratic staff director to its Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.
“This team will hit the ground running,” Wheeler said in a statement. “With critical work to be accomplished for the American people and the Internet becoming ever more important in the lives of consumers and businesses across the nation, this team provides an excellent mix of governmental, private-sector and public-interest expertise. They will join the many talented and dedicated professionals of the FCC, as we work to continue serving the public interest during an era of great technological change.”
Wheeler, who was named to head the agency just prior to Genachowski leaving, had his nomination held up first by the recent government shutdown, and then later by Senator Ted Cruz (R. Texas) who finally relented on his opposition. Cruz, who was a prominent figure on the Republican side during the government shutdown, said he was delaying a vote on the Wheeler nomination in order to garner more information on Wheeler’s view of the DISCLOSE Act. That act was designed to provide greater transparency into campaign financing.
Along with the Wheeler approval, the Senate also approved the nomination of Michael O’Rielly as a Republican member of the FCC replacing former commissioner Robert McDowell. Wheeler and O’Rielly will join current FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai (Republican, Jessica Rosenworcel (Democrat) and Mignon Clyburn (Democrat), who has served as acting chairwoman since Genachowski’s departure.
The FCC has a pretty full schedule of events on its agenda on top of its regular duties. The FCC has a trio of wireless spectrum auctions that are scheduled to be conducted next year, though most feel the 600 MHz incentive auction will likely be pushed back to at least early 2015. The FCC will also have to deal with a number merger and acquisition issues, including AT&T’s current attempt to acquire regional carrier Leap Wireless.
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