Eddie Lazarus, chief of staff to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, will resign his post as of the end of January.
Lazarus said he has no immediate plans, but had long talked about the post being a “two- to three-year job,” which he admitted could be an “exhausting position.”
His tenure was marked by some highly contentious issues, as the commission took up passage of net neutrality rules and two high-profile mergers, the union of Comcast with NBC Universal and AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile. Genachowski came out against the AT&T-T-Mobile deal last month.
“While there is no good time (to leave), this time is as good as any,” Lazarus said in an interview. He said he and his family are considering a return to California, where he once headed Akin Gump’s Los Angeles office.
Lazarus joined the FCC in June 2009. Although he was not a communications lawyer, he was drawn to the idea of public service and was a longtime friend of Genachowski’s.
His tenure also was marked by work on USF reform and spectrum issues, many of the policy initiatives having to do with Genachowski’s efforts to expand broadband access across the country. A big challenge, Lazarus said, was shepherding policy proposals in an environment where there are “very few issues where everyone is going to stand up and applaud what you do.” But he noted that on issues like net neutrality, “the temperature has come down” as the new open Internet rules have been implemented. GOP efforts to roll back the rules have failed to win passage in the Senate.
Lazarus said his tenure “has turned out to be absolutely fascinating. I am happy I did it and grateful for the opportunity.”
Genachowski said, “No one has done more than Eddie Lazarus to ensure that the FCC meets its vital mission to harness communications technology to benefit our economy and all Americans. Eddie has worked tirelessly to refocus the FCC on broadband Internet, and unleash its opportunities.”