By Sara Jerome - 05/11/11 06:26 PM EDT
Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker, a Republican, plans to leave the Federal Communications Commission to join the Washington office of Comcast/NBC Universal, according to people familiar with the move.
The development is the second high-profile snag for the company after it hired Kyle McSlarrow, the longtime cable industry lobbyist earlier this year. It's unclear how Commission staffing will shake out, as it was widely anticipated that Baker would be renominated for her position.
UPDATE: Comcast and Baker's office each put out releases about the development. Baker's title will be senior vice president of government affairs for NBC Universal. She will report to McSlarrow, who lobbied her office as head of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.
"I’ve been privileged to serve in government for the past seven years under President Obama at the FCC and President Bush at NTIA, I’m excited to embark on a new phase of my career with Comcast and NBCUniversal,” Baker said in a statement.
During her term at the FCC, Baker was known for her strong free-market views, including her opposition to net-neutrality regulations. She voted yes to approving the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal earlier this year, subsequently calling for reform to the FCC's merger review process to prevent the agency from excessively conditioning such transactions.