The National Association of Broadcasters has set a leadership transition for next year as longtime president Gordon Smith will hand the president-CEO reins to Curtis LeGeyt as of Jan. 1.

Smith, a former U.S. Senator from Oregon, has led the Washington, D.C.-based NAB since late 2009. LeGeyt has been with NAB for nearly 10 years and at present is chief operating officer. Smith will shift to an advisory role next year.

“I am honored and humbled to be named the next leader of this great organization,” LeGeyt said. “To represent the broadcast industry and the local stations that bind our communities together in a moment of such tremendous change across the media landscape is a privilege. Our stations’ role in communities across this country has never been more important, and I look forward to working every day to ensure their ability to grow and thrive.”

Smith has been a well-liked leader of the advocacy org who helped calm the waters among disparate broadcast groups as industry shifts made for conflicting agendas at times, particularly among the largest and smallest owners.

Jordan Wertlieb, Hearst Television executive and president of NAB’s board of directors, praised Smith for his leadership during a period of massive transition for TV.

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NAB president Gordon Smith Erika Nizborski

“Gordon is the ultimate statesman, bringing people together from both sides of the aisle to discuss ideas, find common ground and lead NAB to success on countless fronts,” said Wertlieb. “On behalf of the leadership of NAB, we extend our sincere gratitude for more than a decade of service to the broadcast industry. We look forward to continuing to work with Gordon and benefiting from his guidance for years to come.”

In announcing his retirement, Smith gave a shout-out to the work that broadcasters do to provide news and information to hundreds of millions of Americans daily.

“It has been my great honor to give the lion’s roar for broadcasters – those who run into the storm, those who stand firm in chaos to hear the voice of the people, those who hold to account the powerful – and to stand with those of the fourth estate who have the hearts of public servants,” he said.

(Pictured: Curtis LeGeyt)