The news of nomination of Tom Wheeler as FCC chair and the naming of Mignon Clyburn as interim chair was welcomed by the current commissioners on Wednesday.
"I've had the pleasure of knowing Tom personally and professionally for almost 20 years," said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, who announced he will be leaving in mid-May now that a successor has been named. "I was pleased to appoint Tom as chairman of the FCC's Technological Advisory Council in 2010, and under his leadership the TAC has made strong contributions to the FCC's work, including on unleashing spectrum for mobile, removing barriers to private investment, and strengthening our cyber security. At this exciting time in this important sector, I can attest to Tom's commitment to harness the power of communications technology to improve people's lives, to drive our global competitiveness, and to advance the public interest. The FCC's role has never been more essential, and with Tom's deep policy expertise and his first-hand experience as a technology investor, he is a superb choice to advance the FCC's mission of promoting innovation, investment, competition, and consumer protection."
As to Clyburn, Genachowski noted: "Mignon is a strong, experienced, and thoughtful leader. She has distinguished herself through her work to modernize universal service and promote competition, and as a champion for closing America's digital divide. With this appointment, Mignon will also distinguish herself as the first woman to lead the FCC. I congratulate my friend and colleague on this honor."
"Given his wealth of private-sector experience and his knowledge of the communications industry, Tom is superbly qualified to lead the commission," said Republican commissioner and the agency's soon-to-be senior GOP member Ajit Pai. "I look forward to working with him on creating a regulatory environment in which innovation and competition will flourish for the benefit of all Americans."
Of his colleague Clyburn, Pai said: "I know that she will lead the commission with skill and integrity. For the past eleven months, I have appreciated the collegial approach she has brought to our joint labors at the Commission. I look forward to continuing to work with her on the important issues on our agenda."
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, herself a candidate for the top FCC job, had nothing but good things to say about Wheeler.
"I am excited by the news that President Obama has decided to nominate Tom Wheeler to be the next chairman of the Federal Communications Commission," she said. I know he will bring a deep understanding of communications policy to the role, which he has already demonstrated through his leadership of the Commission's Technological Advisory Council. This agency will face complex issues during the days ahead, but I am confident that he will be a terrific leader and I look forward to working with him."
Of Clyburn, she said: "Mignon is a principled and dedicated public servant and I have no doubt that she will be a thoughtful leader of the agency during this critical time in its history."
"I have always known Tom to be thoughtful, insightful and eager to listen," said commissioner Robert McDowell, who is also exiting mid-month. "Furthermore, he is an accomplished scholar of American history -- an unusual attribute which should give him a unique perspective as he works to shape public policy as FCC chairman. Wheeler has written two books, including one on leadership lessons from the Civil War."
But while Wheeler is steeped in history, Clyburn will be making some herself. "As her friend, I am delighted that Mignon has written a page in American history as the first woman to serve at the helm of the Commission. While we do not always agree on policy, I have consistently found Mignon to be thoughtful, highly perceptive, energetic and respectful of opposing viewpoints....She is a consummate public servant who strives to make the American communications marketplace better for consumers. I wish her every success in her new role."