FCC chairman joins commissioner in stepping down

22 March 2013 | Mitch Sayers

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski will announce today that he is to step down from his role at the FCC, sources have confirmed.

Genachowski announced to FCC staff last night his intentions to step down and the news arrives two days after commissioner Robert McDowell confirmed he is also to leave his post.

The chairman’s departure is thought to be scheduled for a few weeks and it will lead to President Barack Obama having to nominate a new Republican commissioner and Democratic chair in a senate hearing over the next few days.

Genachowski, who attended Harvard Law School, suffered criticism at the hands of the public with his liberal views. Market watchers have had the view that he has been pandering to corporate needs in some cases.

“When Julius Genachowski took office, there were high hopes that he would use his powerful position to promote the public interest,” Craig Aaron, president and CEO of public interest group Free Press, said in a statement.

“But instead of acting as the people’s champion, he’s catered to corporate interests.

He claimed to be a staunch defender of the open Internet, but his net neutrality policies are full of loopholes and offer no guarantee that the FCC will be able to protect consumers from corporate abuse in the future.”

Candidates for the role include venture capitalist Tom Wheeler; Lawrence Strickling, head of a national telecommunications and information administration; Karen Kornbluh or Blair Levin, former FCC staff member and industry analyst.