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FCC Chairman Wheeler Announces Resignation

There had been some speculation that Wheeler would not leave immediately

WASHINGTON � The FCC chairman will step down. The news ends recent speculation about a possible muddied transition between a Democratic-led commission into a GOP administration.

�Today, Chairman Tom Wheeler, after more three years at the helm of the agency, announced he intends to leave the Federal Communications Commission on Jan. 20, 2017,� the commission announced.

There had been some speculation that Wheeler would not leave immediately; his term on the commission was to run to 2018. Meanwhile fellow Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel has not been reconfirmed; according to some accounts, Republicans indicated they would not reconfirm Rosenworcel if Wheeler insisted on staying on, making it harder for the new administration to put its stamp on the commission right away. It quoted him:

�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.�

He was the 31st chair of the FCC, taking the position in November 2013, appointed by President Obama. His departure makes it likely that one of the Republicans currently on the commission will succeed him at least in an acting capacity; they are Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly.

Wheeler came to the FCC with a background in telecomm networks and services. Prior to the FCC, Wheeler was managing director at Core Capital Partners, a venture capital firm investing in Internet Protocol-based companies; he was as president/CEO of Shiloh Group LLC, a strategy development and private investment company. He is former president/CEO of the National Cable Television Association and the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association.

A version of this story originally appeared on the website of Radio magazine sister publication, Radio World.