RealTime IT News

Former FCC Chief Joins Tech Investment Firm

Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael K. Powell has joined a private equity firm focused on media and wireless investments, the investment firm said Thursday.

Powell will serve as senior advisor at Providence Equity Partners where he'll focus on technology and regulatory issues in the media, communications and information industries.

The announcement comes one month after Powell's father, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, was hired by IT venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers.

The younger Powell, who spent seven years as an FCC Commissioner, joins a firm that has amassed $9 billion of holdings in media and telecom companies.

Providence Equity was a founding investor in what became T-Mobile USA, and owns stakes in media firms Warner Music and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, among others.

"Michael Powell had a wide range of opportunities to choose from, and we are deeply gratified that he has chosen to become part of Providence Equity," Glenn Creamer, senior managing director, said in a statement. "He has great insights in many of the areas in which the firm specializes, and his counsel will be invaluable to us as we continue to focus on producing superior returns for our investors."

Powell, 41, is expected to advise the firm on current investments and assist in identifying and pursuing new ones.

In 1997, President Clinton appointed Powell was appointed to the FCC. President George W. Bush selected him as chairman in 2001, replacing William Kennard.

During his tenure he was frequently accused by consumer groups of serving the Bells' interests.

His regulatory approach suggested that competition, particularly in the broadband industry, was better served by multiple platforms providing bundled packages. By contrast, the Kennard approach was to require that the Bells provide open access at government-mandated prices to all competitors.

Prior to being named an FCC Commissioner in 1997, Powell was Chief of Staff of the Antitrust Division in the Department of Justice. Before joining the Department of Justice in 1996, he practiced law with the firm of O'Melveny.