Ajit Pai, FCC chair, to depart on Jan. 20


Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai said he will leave his post on Inauguration Day.

Mr. Pai‘s exit will set up an FCC expected to be divided 2-2, with an even split of Republicans and Democrats, under presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden in the New Year.

Mr. Pai was selected to lead the FCC by President Trump and appointed as a Republican member of the commission during former President Barack Obama’s tenure. In a statement announcing his departure, Mr. Pai touted the work of the commission in helping to implement 5G technology policies.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve at the Federal Communications Commission, including as Chairman of the FCC over the past four years,” Mr. Pai said in a statement. “I am grateful to President Trump for giving me the opportunity to lead the agency in 2017, to President Obama for appointing me as a Commissioner in 2012, and to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and the Senate for twice confirming me. To be the first Asian-American to chair the FCC has been a particular privilege. As I often say: only in America.”

Mr. Pai‘s term was set to end later in 2021, and his departure gives Mr. Biden the opportunity to select a Democrat to lead the commission sooner after his anticipated inauguration.

Mr. Biden has selected John Williams, senior counsel on the House Judiciary Committee, as the lead person on his burgeoning transition team’s review of the FCC that will help chart the course of the agency.

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