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New FCC Chairman Taps Open Internet Advocate Gigi Sohn for Top Post

Public Knowledge co-founder to serve as special counsel for external affairs

Newly enshrined FCC boss Tom Wheeler has unveiled a round of top staff appointments as he takes the helm of the commission.

Among the notable names on the list is Gigi Sohn, a high-profile advocate for open Internet policies that have at times clashed with showbiz’s copyright protection priorities.

Sohn, who co-founded and previously served as prexy-CEO of non-profit org Public Knowledge, will serve as special counsel for external affairs.

Other staff appointments unveiled Monday include FCC vet Ruth Milkman as chief of staff and FCC and State Dept. alum Philip Verveer as senior counselor to the chairman.

Sohn, who started Public Knowledge in 2001, and she said that she is leaving the organization “with a mixture of sadness and great pride.” She supported Wheeler’s nomination as FCC chairman, and cautioned critics that his past experience as head of cable and wireless industry trade groups would not make him beholden to industry.

Two Public Knowledge staffers, Michael Weinberg and Brooke Hunter, will serve as acting presidents.

“I expect that they will demand the same high level of excellence and thoughtfulness as I did,” she said. “I wish them, and the organization, great success in the future.”

 

 

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