CTIA official leaves to head up venture capital group

Bobby Franklin, the executive vice president of CTIA – The Wireless Association, will take the helm of the trade group for investors this fall. He leaves CTIA after nearly a decade with the organization, first working as its chief lobbyist in 2003.

The NVCA’s board of directors went through an “extensive search” to find a replacement for the organization’s current chief, Mark Heesen, who is retiring after 22 years with the group.

They hired the headhunting firm Russell Reynolds Associates to sift through more than 100 applications to find the ideal match.

“The excitement and overwhelming consensus that formed around Bobby Franklin is a testament to his credentials and ability to drive the association forward in a manner that best serves the venture capital industry,” wrote NVCA Chairman Josh Green, in a letter to its 400-plus members – which include Bain Capital Ventures, Citigroup and Blackrock Alternative Advisors.

“Our industry demands integrity, passion and a vision for the future,” Green said.

Federal records show Heesen earned more than $800,000 in total compensation in his role as president and CEO last year, a sliver of the size of the industry. The venture capital sector injected nearly $30 billion into businesses, projects and investment deals in 2012, according to a NVCA report.

“It is a privilege to lead an industry that plays such a critical role alongside entrepreneurs in improving the ways in which we work and live,” Franklin said in a statement.

At CTIA, he worked with the trade group’s members and communicated with its board of directors and lawmakers on their behalf. Before that, he ran the Washington lobby shop for ALLTELL Communications.

Heesen assured its members that the NVCA is in “excellent hands.”

“Our members expect great things from NVCA, and I am certain those expectations will be exceeded under the new leadership,” he said in a release. “I am extremely confident that the association will thrive under Bobby’s energy, management style and vision.”

CTIA announced on Tuesday that it would promote from within in order to fill the vacancy caused by Franklin’s departure. Chris Guttman-McCabe, its vice president of regulatory affairs, will take over as executive vice president once he leaves.

Steve Largent, president and chief executive of CTIA, wished Franklin well. “On behalf of CTIA and its members, I also want to thank Bobby for his leadership during his tenure and am confident he will continue to be successful in his new role at the National Venture Capital Association,” he said in the announcement.