Tom Wheeler, who has headed lobbying associations for both the cable television and mobile phone industries, is the leading candidate to succeed Julius Genachowski as chairman of the regulatory agency. While most of the press is talking about Wheeler’s contacts within Washington, no one seems to be particularly concerned about his previous job.
Wheeler is a managing director with the private equity firm Core Capital Partners but he was a former president of the National Cable Television Association and the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. We would have thought that many of the consumer groups would be furious, but it seems they are not. Gigi B. Sohn, president and chief executive of Public Knowledge even said that he will be an independent, proactive chairman.
“Ultimately his decisions will be based on what he genuinely believes is best for the public interest, not any particular industry."
Free Press President and Chief Executive Craig Aaron said that Tom Wheeler on paper did not seem to be the sort of person to stand up to industry giants and protect the public interest. However, Aaron indicated that Free Press is hopeful that Wheeler and the rest of the FCC will "engage the public and make policies that truly benefit all Americans".