Michael Powell, Ex-FCC Head, Named Top Cable Industry Lobbyist

Former regulatory chief tapped to take top NCTA spot

Last Updated: March 15, 2011 @ 1:59 PM

Michael Powell, who served as chairman of the FCC from 2001 to 2005 under the Bush administration, has been named the new president and CEO of the trade organization the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

Though an NCTA spokesperson told TheWrap that "we need to let [Powell] get his feet wet" before determining his priorities as the group's lead lobbyist, net neutrality will no doubt take up part of his attention. In Feburary, the House voted to block the FCC's rules on net neutrality, though their vote would need Senate approval and President Obama's signature to become law.

The NCTA has come down against net neutrality, with McSlarrow deeming it "unnecessary in light of the competitive marketplace."

But The Wall Street Journal notes that Powell was was among the first regulators to seek consumer online protections he dubbed "the four freedoms." They influenced the net neutrality rules the FCC passed in December.

Powell will replace current NCTA president and CEO Kyle McSlarrow on April 25. McSlarrow is moving on to become the president of Comcast/NBC Universal, Washington, D.C. McSlarrow will divide his time between handling business operations and customer experience in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, and leading Comcast's public policy office, focusing on national issues.

In a statement, Powell said he is "excited to help lead companies committed not only to their businesses, but to improving U.S. competitiveness and supporting invaluable programs in important areas such as education.”

Powell is currently a senior advisor for Providence Equity Partners and honorary co-chair of Broadband for America. He is the son of former Secretary of State and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell.