Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Julius Genachowski will announce his resignation on Friday, according to The Wall Street Journal's unnamed sources, and the hunt for his replacement is well underway.
Don't worry, though. There's no big scandal just a chance for Obama to make a bold move in what's the beginning of the end of his presidential appointments. Genachowski, pictured to the right, took over the telecommunications industry regulator in June 2009 and oversaw some pretty big challenges, like AT&T's failed takeover of T-Mobile. It's unclear why he chose to step down early — his term is up in July — but it appears to be an amicable departure on all fronts.
Now for the fun part: figuring out who gets to take over one of the more powerful regulatory bodies in the United States government. The Washington Post anticipated Genachowski's departure last week and reported that the White House was holding meetings with a number of likely candidates, like venture capitalist Tom Wheeler and assistant Commerce secretary Larry Strickling. Oh great, you might be thinking, more old white men, just what what the Obama administration needs.
Or, Obama and his advisors could decide to pick somebody like law professor Cathy Sandoval. Sandoval, the first Latina Rhodes scholar, was a high-ranking FCC official back during the Clinton years and has been teaching in California for nearly a decade and has served as the state's public utilities commissioner since 2011. Her name has also been in the running as a potential replacement for Genachowski since the election, at least.
At this point, though, it's a wait-and-see game. It'll be interesting to see if the vocal group that criticized Obama's list of appointees for its heavy representation of while males a couple of months ago will rise up and pressure the president towards a candidate who will bring some diversity to the administration. It'll be more interesting to see which Silicon Valley giant tries to hire Genachowski first.