Michael Powell to head NCTA

Former FCC chairman tapped to top trade group

Former FCC Chairman Michael Powell has been named to head the cable industry’s trade group, the National Cable and Telecommunications Assn.

Powell, who served as Federal Communications Commission chairman from 2001 to 2005, succeeds Kyle McSlarrow, who last week said he was departing to become president of Comcast/NBC Universal, Washington, D.C. Most recently, Powell served as a senior adviser to Providence Equity Partners, which has numerous large holdings in media companies. He will relinquish that role.

“Michael Powell is one of the most well respected and influential visionaries in all of telecommunications, and we’re so proud to have him join the cable team,” said Patrick Esser, chair of the NCTA’s board of directors and president of cable outfit Cox Communications. “Michael’s exemplary record of leadership, deep commitment to public service, and vast insight into public policy make him an ideal fit to lead our industry in Washington, D.C., as we address the regulatory challenges that lie ahead and continue to help policy makers understand cable’s commitment to jobs, investment, and innovation.”

In his top regulator role at the FCC, Powell often clashed with the industry he is now charged with serving. In a statement Tuesday, he said: “Cable is a dynamic and highly innovative industry, providing cutting edge services and content that Americans love. The broadband platform the industry has deployed is a critical part of the infrastructure needed to realize our national ambition to be a great nation in the Information Age. I am 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.”