Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell has announced the organization of a new Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis at the FCC.

According to the FCC announcement, the new division “will emphasize strategic planning, focusing on the commission's short and long-term policy objectives, as well as incorporate the policy functions of the existing Office of Plans and Policy.”

Powell added, “For some time, I have seen the need for better strategic coordination among and across the Commission's Bureaus and Offices. The new Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis will give the Commission the ability to achieve this goal while, at the same time, continuing the tradition of sophisticated and timely policy analysis and development.”

Jane Mago, general counsel, will become chief of the new Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis.

Robert Pepper, former chief of the Office of Plans and Policy, will be part of the new office but report directly to Chairman Powell in a new Commission position of chief-policy development.

The new OSP will be responsible for working with the chairman, commissioners, bureaus and offices to create a plan to identify short- and long-term policy objectives for the agency.

The OSP also will work with the annual budget so proposals mesh with agency policy objectives and plans.

According to the release, the OSP will continue to be responsible “for monitoring the state of the communications industry to identify trends, issues and overall industry health, and it will produce staff working papers. The office will act as consultants to the commission in areas of economic, business and market analysis and other subjects that cut across traditional lines such as the Internet.”

The office also will review legal trends and developments — including those not necessarily related to FCC proceedings.

Jane Mago has been the commission's general counsel since January 2001. She is a 24-year veteran of the commission, having worked for three FCC commissioners including as common carrier advisor to Anne P. Jones; senior adviser to Rachelle B. Chong; and senior adviser to then-Commissioner Powell.

Robert Pepper has headed the Office of Plans and Policy since December 1989.

He joined the commission in 1986 as senior advisor to then-Commissioner Patricia Diaz Dennis.

New department, new hires

In related FCC news, Kathleen O'Brien Ham has been tapped as deputy chief, and Maureen C. McLaughlin as chief of staff in the new Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis.

Kathleen O'Brien Ham is serving as deputy chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau overseeing auctions, licensing, spectrum, and legislative matters for the bureau since 1998.

She also served as the first chief of WTB's Auctions and Industry Analysis, as legal adviser to the chief of the Commercial Wireless Division, and as a senior attorney in the Private Radio and Mass Media Bureaus.

Maureen C. McLaughlin, is serving as senior counsel for Law and Policy in the Office of General Counsel where she advised the general counsel and the chairman's office on wireless telecommunications and spectrum management issues.

She served as senior counsel to the Communications Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee where she was principal policy adviser in all telecommunications matters, including media ownership, spectrum policy and digital rights management.

New FCC general counsel named

In still other FCC personnel news, Chairman Powell announced he is naming John Rogovin as general counsel of the FCC.

Rogovin, FCC deputy general counsel, succeeds Jane Mago.

Powell said, “John Rogovin is a superb lawyer and has made significant contributions to the FCC as deputy general counsel during the past year-and-a-half. He has great experience in litigation, regulatory and administrative law and will be a great asset as general counsel.”

Rogovin joined the FCC in May 2001. Before joining the FCC, he was a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of O'Melveny and Myers, where he was involved in litigation and regulatory matters before federal and state courts and agencies.

PCIA adds board member

PCIA announces that Thomas A. (Tam) Murray has joined the PCIA board of directors.

Murray is the founder and managing member of Community Wireless Structures, a wireless infrastructure company that focuses on addressing carriers' collocation needs in challenging zoning areas.

“Tam has been an active, responsive member of PCIA for some time, serving as a knowledgeable voice for smaller tower companies,” said Jay Kitchen, PCIA president and CEO. "We're pleased he will continue to share his experience and valuable perspective in his capacity as a member of the board.”

Esrey to hang on at Sprint

Sprint Corp. revealed that outgoing chairman and chief executive officer William T. Esrey will remain head of the long-distance telephone company until his successor can assume the role of CEO.

“We are pleased that Bill Esrey will remain at Sprint during this time. This ensures that Sprint will have the same outstanding leadership, vision and integrity that Bill and his team have provided to Sprint during the past decade-and-a-half,” the board of directors announced in a written statement.

The independent directors reiterated that they intended “to name Gary D. Forsee to succeed Esrey as soon as permitted by the Georgia courts.”

His expected successor, BellSouth Corp. Vice Chairman Forsee, is mired in a legal struggle with his current employer over the potential disclosure of trade secrets.

BellSouth argued that Forsee's contract barred him from working for a competitor for 18 months after his departure. BellSouth also expressed concern that Forsee could reveal its corporate secrets to Sprint.

Sprint President Ronald LeMay also will remain at the company during this transition period, the company announced.

LeMay will continue to focus on the operations of the company and continue to ensure that the substantial progress that the company has been making will continue even in these difficult market and industry conditions, the board said.

“Both Ron and I will work with Gary to make his transition to CEO of Sprint as smooth and successful as possible,” Esrey explained.

Magis adds chief financial officer

Magis Networks Inc. announced that Norm Farquhar has joined the company as its chief financial officer.

In his new role, Farquhar has overall responsibility for day-to-day financial operations and administration of the company.

Magis develops chipsets that enable wireless communications of high-quality video, audio, and Internet data throughout the home and office under its Air5 brand name.

“As Magis advanced from product development to shipping chipsets and generating revenue, we looked to bring aboard a strong financial executive to lead this process,” said Clarence Bruckner, President and CEO, Magis Networks. “In Norm, we found a seasoned finance veteran with broad financial and administrative experience and a deep understanding of how to successfully manage a growing technology company.”

Farquhar brings to Magis more than 30 years of financial experience, primarily with pre-revenue and pre-public companies. He has completed three Initial Public Offerings, and more than two dozen merger-and-acquisition transactions.

Prior to joining Magis, Farqhuar served as the CFO of AirPrime Inc., a privately held provider of high-speed wireless data and voice products.

Munger appointed to EIA

Mary L. Munger, founder and president of Intersect, has been appointed to the Electronic Industries Alliance's Board of Governors.

Munger serves as chair of the Small Business Development Committee of the Telecommunications Industry Association and she is one of the TIA representatives on the EIA Board.

EIA is a national trade organization of electronic and high-tech associations and companies whose mission is promoting the market development and competitiveness of the U.S. high-tech industry through domestic and international policy efforts. Collectively, the alliance represents more than 80 percent of the $430 billion electronics industry.

TIA represents providers of communications and information technology products and services and strives to further members' business opportunities, economic growth and betterment of humanity through improved communications. TIA's 35 board members, selected from member companies, formulate policy that is carried out by staff in the Washington, D.C., area and an international office in Beijing.

Ericsson CEO steps down

LM Ericsson is replacing longtime chief executive with an outsider as the telecom equipment maker tries to bouce back from two straight years of losses.

Kurt Hellstroem, who has been with Ericsson for 18 years — the last four as its president and CEO — announced that he wanted to take advantage of a clause in his contract that would allow him retire when he turned 60 this year.

The Stockholm-based company named Carl-Henric Svanberg, the CEO for international lock maker Assa Abloy, as Hellstroem's replacement.

He will take over April 8, when Ericsson holds its annual shareholder meeting.

Hellstroem will stay on until the end of 2003 to help with the transition.

Svanberg, who has been CEO of Assa Abloy since 1994, has been credited for turning Assa Abloy into one of the world's best-known lock makers.

Svanberg will oversee the rest of Ericsson's ambitious cost-cutting program as it tries to weather the telecom slump.

“Carl-Henric Svanberg will keep the same focus as Kurt Hellstroem, namely to make Ericsson return to profit, cut costs and to strengthen our leading position,” said Ericsson chairman Michael Treschow.

New U.K. regulator talks tough

The likes of the BBC, British Telecom and Sky Broadcasting could come under increased pressure to change their ways following the appointment of Stephen Carter as head of soon-to-be-created merged U.K. media regulator Ofcom.

To the delight of competitors, Carter, previously managing director and COO at cable company NTL, said that the three companies, all of which dominate their respective markets, would “need watching.”

Carter has previously spoken out strongly against companies such as BT and BSkyB calling for “prompt and switch action” against the duo, but yesterday toned down those comments saying they were made in his capacity as NTL executive and not as head of Ofcom.

Carter told reporters that one of his initial main tasks as head of Ofcom would be to find high-quality talent to head the various divisions of the new watchdog. The latter is set to bring together five separate regulators governing TV, telecoms and radio including the Independent Television Commission (ITC), Office of Telecommunications (Oftel), the British Broadcasting Standards Commission, the Radio Authority and the Radio Communications Agency.

Carter acknowledged that finding talent from the commercial sector could prove difficult since most would probably have to accept a pay cut, but added that people could still be attracted since not everyone would be lured by money.

He said that the success of the new regulator ought not be measured on how much money can be saved but to what extent Ofcom would “help contribute to the creation of a dynamic, modern industry which makes the [United Kingdom] a leading country in the sector — whilst keeping a beady eye on the diversity and plurality issues.”

The exact policy making role of Carter will become clearer in the coming months after he assumes full responsibility for the establishment and running of Ofcom in March this year.

Carter described his definition of the “light touch” regulatory approach spelled out in a new communications bill set to become law late this year as, “When you can, get out of the way of the market. When you have to intervene, do so effectively — when there's strong and proven evidential reason for involvement.”

The 38-year-old Carter started out his career as a trainee at advertising agency J Walter Thompson before becoming chief executive in 1995.

He was later drafted to cable company NTL where he worked until the company was forced to file for bankruptcy last year. After a string of high-level job offers Carter decided to join Ofcom after seeing it as a unique opportunity to make a change that's only going to happen once.
JoHan Carlstrom
Kagan World Media

Richardson adds European expert

Richardson Electronics has announced the addition of Philippe Ansoult as product marketing manager for the RF and Wireless Communications business unit in Europe.

Most recently, Philippe served as sales director, France, for BFI and previously held the position of area sales manager for Avantek in France.

Philippe will be working with Richardson's RWC business unit to evolve their strategy for serving the European market.