Lathen ankles key FCC post

Helped shepherd $58 bil AT&T-MediaOne merger

WASHINGTON — A top Federal Communications Commission politico who oversaw the merger of AOL Time Warner while heading up the agency’s cable bureau announced Wednesday that she will resign from the key post.

Deborah Lathen’s departure was widely expected, since she was appointed by former FCC topper William Kennard, a Democrat.

During last year’s presidential campaign, Lathen took a brief hiatus to work on Al Gore’s prez campaign.

Lathen made her exit official in a letter sent to new FCC chair Michael Powell, a Republican who has yet to name his pick to head the FCC’s cable division. Her resignation is effective May 18.

“Public service over the past three years has been a richly rewarding experience for me. My parting thought is that I was given a rare privilege and deep honor to lead the Cable Services Bureau during a watershed time,” Lathen wrote.

Although they come from different political parties, Powell made sure to commend Lathen.

“From directing merger reviews to supervising the day-to-day business of the bureau, she has made remarkable contributions and her leadership will be missed. It has been a pleasure to call Deborah a colleague and a friend,” Powell said.

In addition to heading up the review of the $108 billion AOL Time Warner merger, Lathen also handled the $58 billion AT&T’s merger with MediaOne and the $50 billion AT&T/TCI merger.