Sources close to the situation claimed yesterday evening that Julius Genachowski would be stepping down from his post as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and today he has taken the podium at an FCC staff meeting to confirm just that.
“I’ll be stepping down as chairman of the FCC in the next couple weeks,” he said, before thanking members of the FCC for helping to build a country where “innovation and investment are flourishing.”
During his lively address to FCC staffers, Genachowski (who was nominated and confirmed for the position in 2009) noted that his time with the organization would soon be over, but lauded the FCC’s accomplishments and pointed to even greater importance for the agency in the months and years to come. Among other priorities left for the FCC to tackle, Genachowski pointed to freeing up “even more spectrum for mobile broadband” and “driving increased broadband speed and capacity to every school and every business.”
“If we do our job right,” he noted, “we can make a meaningful, positive difference in the lives of the American people.”
As you’d expect, Genachowski used his time at the podium to paint an uplifting portrait of what the FCC has been do, but not everyone would agree with his view of his tenure. In a statement released yesterday, CEO Craig Aron of the media reform group Free Press took Genachowski to task for putting corporate interests ahead of public ones and steadfastly sticking to his policy guns when others called for him to compromise:
“Though President Obama promised his FCC chairman would not continue the Bush administration’s failed media ownership policies, Genachowski offered the exact same broken ideas that Bush’s two chairmen pushed,” Aron alleged. “He never faced the public and ignored the overwhelming opposition to his plans.”
While the news came as something of a surprise last night, Genachowski has been mulling his departure for some time now — earlier this month the Washington Post reported that he was expected to officially relinquish his post at some point in April, and opined on who would eventually come to take Genachowski’s place.