Former FCC chief heads to Carlyle Group

Former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski joined a major private equity firm on Monday.

The Carlyle Group announced that the former FCC head joined the asset management company’s U.S. buyout team as a managing director and partner. He will focus on investments in technology, media and telecommunications, the company said.

“It’s an exciting time in the space, with an ongoing wave of innovation creating significant opportunities for investment,” Genachowski said in a statement. “I'm grateful to have been part of developments around tech, media and telecom for many years, working with some of the best in the business, and I'm looking forward to joining my new and superbly talented Carlyle colleagues to help find and build businesses.”

Genachowski spent four years atop the FCC, from 2009 to 2013, and focused heavily on expanding broadband Internet access.

President Obama, who went to college and law school with Genachowski, praised him as an “extraordinary” FCC chairman while nominating his successor, Tom Wheeler, last May.

One of the former chairman’s defining legacies was a 2010 decision to enact net neutrality regulations, requiring Internet providers treat online traffic equally, despite opposition from Republicans in Congress. Those rules are currently being challenged in court, and a ruling is expected in the near future. 

He also approved Comcast’s bid to take over NBC in early 2011, but helped to block AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile later that year.

“Deep industry specialization is core to our investment strategy and Julius brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to these sectors,” Pete Clare, co-head of Carlyle Group’s U.S. buyout team, said in a written statement. “His judgment about how these sectors will evolve will be invaluable to us.”

Since leaving the commission last spring, Genachowski has taught a class at the Harvard Business and Law Schools and served as a senior fellow with the Aspen Institute.

Before the FCC, he spent more than a decade at the Internet company IAC/InterActiveCorp.