Ex-FCC official to be tapped as chair

President-elect Barack Obama plans to nominate Julius Genachowski, one of his top technology advisers and a close confidante, to head the five-member FCC, industry and Hill sources informed of the decision said Tuesday.

Obama also is expected to name an interim chairman who would serve until Genachowski is confirmed, with multiple sources predicting the choice would be Michael Copps, the most senior of the agency's two Democratic commissioners. Genachowski has an extensive background in technology circles.

He was a senior executive at Barry Diller's IAC/Interactive Corp. and chief counsel during the Clinton administration to then-FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, now on the Obama transition team.

He is also co-founder of two venture capital firms investing in high-technology start ups and attended Harvard Law School with Obama. The investment firm Stifel Nicolaus suggested in an advisory on Tuesday that Genachowski is likely to favor nontraditional players such as Google, eBay and Yahoo over industry stalwarts like AT&T, Qwest and Verizon.

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