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Ex-Microsoft Exec Named FCC Managing Director

Julius Genachowski also appointed Austin Schlick to his former position as general counsel of the FCC.

Former high-ranking Microsoft executive Steven VanRoekel has been named managing director of the Federal Communications Commission. VanRoekel managed the software firm's cross-industry Web services team and was also speech and strategy assistant to Bill Gates.

In the announcement this week, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski noted that VanRoekel has more than 18 years of IT and management experience. During his 13-year stint at Microsoft, VanRoekel began in a server and networking support team in Las Colinas, Texas, before moving on to sales positions in Houston and Dallas. He also appeared on Texas radio talk shows and TV stations.

In 1999, according to a blog VanRoekel wrote during his Microsoft days, he moved to Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash. -- "A fun job to say the least," he said. Later he assisted Gates while he transitioned from Microsoft CEO to chief software architect and to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Genachowski also appointed Austin Schlick, former chief of the civil division of the Office of the Maryland Attorney General, as general counsel of the FCC. The FCC said Schlick has also led affirmative litigation in environmental and consumer protection. In a circle-completing measure, Genachowski himself served as the FCC's general counsel during the Clinton administration.

"I am pleased that these exceptional individuals have chosen to join the Commission at this historic moment," said Genachowski in a statement. "In striving to improve the lives of all Americans through communications, the FCC's staff is its most valuable asset."

Registration is now open for the leading enterprise communications event, VoiceCon. It happens in San Francisco, Nov. 2-5. Find out more and register.

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