On January 25, 2021, Acting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced the appointment of P. Michele Ellison as Acting General Counsel and Joel Taubenblatt as Acting Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau of the FCC.
“Michele and Joel bring the perfect mix of experience and expertise to their new roles,” commented Rosenworcel. “They both have a deep understanding of communications law and policy and a keen sense of initiative that will be invaluable as the agency takes on its work in the days ahead.”
Per the FCC's announcement of this news:
P. Michele Ellison was most recently the Deputy General Counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, a position she has held for most of her 25-year tenure at the FCC. Ms. Ellison managed the multi-billion dollar transactions, bankruptcy, and fraud portfolio. She also has the distinction of being the first woman of color to serve as the agency’s Chief of Staff, Chief of the Enforcement Bureau, and Acting General Counsel.
Over the years and while serving as Deputy General Counsel, Ms. Ellison has provided leadership in cross-cutting areas critical to the agency's mission. At present, she chairs the FCC’s Connect2Health Task Force, a multidisciplinary team created to advise the Commission on ways to address the broadband health gap and to move the needle on broadband and advanced health care technologies.
She previously co-chaired the Commission's Localism Task Force and led the Commission's Task Force on expanding communications opportunities for small, minority, and women-owned businesses as well as developing countries. Ms. Ellison also played a pivotal role on national broadband planning under Acting Chairman Michael Copps, served as Transition Counsel to Commissioner (then Chief of Staff to Acting Chairwoman) Mignon Clyburn, and advised Chairman William Kennard as his Deputy Chief of Staff.
Before joining the Commission in 1995, Ms. Ellison was a Partner, and earlier an associate, at Williams and Connolly. She clerked for the Honorable Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and for the Honorable Paul R. Webber, III of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Ms. Ellison received her J.D., cum laude from Howard University School of Law, and her B.A. from Duke University.
Joel Taubenblatt was most recently the Deputy Bureau Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, a position he has held for one-third of his 25-year career with the FCC. Mr. Taubenblatt has managed a range of issues regarding spectrum access and availability, network and infrastructure deployment, and intermodal and intramodal competition.
Mr. Taubenblatt previously held several leadership positions in the Bureau, including Chief of the Competition and Infrastructure Policy Division and Chief of the Broadband Division.He joined the FCC in 1996 as an attorney in the Common Carrier Bureau, and he is a recipient of the FCC’s Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Career Service. He graduated from Duke University School of Law and from the University of Pennsylvania, with a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School and a B.A. in English.
Also per the FCC's announcement of this news, Tom Johnson is stepping down as the agency's General Counsel and has agreed to continue to serve in its Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. Don Stockdale will be transitioning to the Commission's Office of Economics and Analytics.
“Tom and Don are terrific public servants who have made real contributions to the work of the Federal Communications Commission,” said Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel. “I am grateful for their work on behalf of the American people.”
Meanwhile, a separate announcement of staff appointments and special designations to the Office of the Chairwoman named Ramesh Nagarajan as Acting Legal Advisor, Wireline; and Ethan Lucarelli as Acting Legal Advisor, Wireless and Public Safety for the Commission. Per that statement:
Ramesh Nagarajan, Acting Legal Advisor, Wireline: Ramesh joins the office from the Wireline Competition Bureau, where he was most recently Deputy Division Chief of the Competition Policy Division. He also served as a law clerk to United States District Judge James D. Whittemore in the Middle District of Florida. Ramesh began his legal career practicing antitrust and competition law at O'Melveny & Myers LLP. Before attending law school, he served as a Legislative Assistant to Representative Lois Capps. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.
Ethan Lucarelli, Acting Legal Advisor, Wireless and Public Safety: Ethan joins the office from the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, where he served as legal and policy advisor to the Bureau Chief. Previously, Ethan was Director of Regulatory & Public Policy at Inmarsat, a global satellite communications company, and an attorney in the Telecommunications, Media, and Technology group at law firm Wiley Rein LLP. Ethan also is a Professorial Lecturer in Law at the George Washington University Law School, teaching courses in Telecommunications Law and Scholarly Writing. Ethan earned his JD with highest honors from George Washington University Law School and a Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Illinois.
Chairwoman Rosenworcel said, “I have long said that the talent and dedication of FCC staff is unmatched. So, I am honored that this group of public servants have agreed to assist me in leading the Commission. We have a lot of work to do and I can’t wait to get started.”