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Wheeler Names His FCC Staff

Gigi Sohn of Public Knowledge is among the team

“This team will hit the ground running.”

That’s the promise of new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who announced several staff and other appointments. Among them is Gigi Sohn, who enjoys a high profile in media policy and intellectual property law.

Wheeler characterized the people he named as providing “an excellent mix of governmental, private-sector and public-interest expertise.”

Ruth Milkman will be his chief of staff. She is currently chief of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and has worked as special counsel to the chairman for innovation in government. She’s former deputy chief of the International and Common Carrier Bureaus and was senior legal advisor to Chairman Reed Hundt. She was a founding partner of Lawler, Metzger, Milkman & Keeney LLC.

Philip Verveer was named senior counselor to the chairman. He is former U.S. coordinator for international communications and information Policy at the State Department, and practiced communications and antitrust law for 35 years. At the FCC he was chief of the Cable Television Bureau, the Broadcast Bureau and the Common Carrier Bureau.

Gigi B. Sohn joins as Wheeler’s special counsel for external affairs. Since 2001 she has been president/CEO of Public Knowledge, an “open Internet” advocacy organization, and more recently co-chair of the board of directors of the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group. She was on the board of the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference and the Advisory Board of the Center for Copyright Information; and she was on President Clinton’s Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters.

Diane Cornell was named the chairman’s special counsel. She was VP for government affairs at Inmarsat and VP of regulatory policy at CTIA, The Wireless Association. Her FCC background includes working as a legal advisor to three commissioners, chief of staff of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and division chief in the International and Common Carrier Bureaus. She’s former president of the Federal Communications Bar Association and was a director of the Universal Service Administrative Co. She will have responsibility for issues in the International Bureau as well as for FCC process reform, according to the announcement.

Daniel Alvarez was named a legal advisor to the chairman, with responsibility for issues in the Wireline Competition and Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureaus. Renee Gregory was named a legal advisor with responsibility for issues in the Office of Engineering and Technology and the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, as well as incentive auction issues. Maria Kirby will serve as a legal advisor, with responsibility for issues in the Media, Consumer and Governmental Affairs and Enforcement Bureaus.

Deborah Ridley was named confidential assistant to the chairman, Sagar Doshi was named special assistant.

Also named to the commission staff: Jon Sallet will serve as interim director of the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force and will become acting general counsel when General Counsel Sean Lev leaves shortly. Jon Wilkins was named acting managing director and advisor to the chairman for management. And Roger Sherman becomes acting chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

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