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3/3/2009
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Obama Officially Picks Genachowski To Chair FCC

Julius Genachowski has held key posts in government and business, and he's known President Obama since their college days.

One of Washington's worst-kept secrets -- that Julius Genachowski would be the next Federal Communications Commission chairman -- ended Tuesday when President Barack Obama formally nominated Genachowski for the position.

After Obama won the presidential election, Genachowski was an immediate odds-on favorite for the FCC position given his background that is steeped in technology and that included a stint as legal counsel to ex-FCC chairman Reed Hundt.

The new chairman-designate also has close ties to Obama. They were undergraduates at Columbia University at the same time and became friends later at Harvard Law School, where Obama blossomed as a top student and began to show the political savvy that later would carry him all the way to the White House.

Genachowski is something of a double threat, having held important positions in official Washington and in business as well. Before the FCC, Genachowski clerked for Supreme Court Justice David Souter and, earlier, for Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, who was retired at the time.

Genachowski has solid liberal credentials and his appointment was hailed by Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge, a prominent Washington public interest group. She said, "I am certain that he will seek to restore public confidence in an agency that has had a long history of opaqueness, industry capture, and a lack of data-driven policymaking."

Noting that she has known Genachowski for 15 years, Sohn cited Genachowski's familiarity and comfort level in both government affairs and business.

On the business side, Genachowski held senior executive positions at IAC/InterActiveCorp, joining the firm shortly after CEO Barry Diller founded it. Genachowski has also been a board member of Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, TripAdvisor, Ticketmaster, and Ask.com. In addition, he has also been a principal in venture capital firms Rock Creek Ventures and LaunchBox Digital.


InformationWeek has published an in-depth report detailing the views of more than two dozen industry leaders on what should be top of mind for President Obama's CTO. Download the report here (registration required).

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