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Name: Genachowski, Julius
Current Position: Chairman

A longtime friend of Barack Obama, venture capitalist Julius Genachowski is expected to give the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) a direct line to the White House, something the agency has not had in many years. It is also expected that Genachowski will focus the FCC more on new Internet technologies than prvious agency chairmen have. Genachowski was confirmed by the Senate June 25, 2009.

Born August 19, 1962, Genachowski, the son of Eastern European Jews who fled the Holocaust, grew up in Great Neck, NY. He attended yeshiva (Jewish religious school) through high school and studied in Israel before enrolling in Columbia College, Columbia University as a pre-med major, but later switched to history, with an eye on law school following graduation. While at Columbia, Genachowski served as an editor at Spectator magazine, and led the charge to bring back Acta Columbiana, a campus paper that had not been published in a hundred years.
After receiving his BA in history, magna cum laude, in 1985, Genachowski decided to postpone law school and go to work for then-Congressman Charles Schumer (D-NY). His time on Capitol Hill also included work on the staff of the special Congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra Affair.
He then enrolled in Harvard Law School, where he served as notes editor at the Harvard Law Review, along with fellow student Barack Obama. “We were two guys with funny names,” recalled Genachowski. He received his JD in 1991, magna cum laude. That same year, he married Boston journalist Martha Raddatz (who was previously married to Ben Bradlee III, son of the longtime Washington Post editor, Ben Bradlee). They later divorced.
After law school, Genachowski clerked for Judge Abner J. Mikva on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit (1991-1992), and then at the US Supreme Court for two years, for Justices William J. Brennan (1992) and David Souter (1993-1994). He remained in Washington, DC, becoming chief counsel to Reed Hundt, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, from 1994-1997. 
Genachowski then teamed up with Hollywood executive Barry Diller at IAC (InterActiveCorp), serving in the chairman’s office, as general counsel and chief of business operations (1997-2005). He joined USA Networks in 1997 and was promoted to executive vice president in 2002. After his long stint with Diller, Genachowski struck out on his own, co-founding and becoming managing director of Rock Creek Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in funding digital media and commerce companies.
Through his leadership at Rock Creek, he became a founding partner of LaunchBox Digital, a seed-stage investment program for Web and mobile entrepreneurs, and chairman and cofounder of Thummit, an online social recommendation service. Through LaunchBox Digital, Genachowski invested in social-networking sites like MyGameMug and the mobile game distributor MPowerPlayer.
He has served on the boards of directors or advisors of numerous companies, including Common Sense Media, E2: Environmental Entrepreneurs,, Ticketmaster, The Motley Fool,, Marc Ecko Enterprises, HSN, Website Pros, Hotel Reservations Network,, Expedia, Styleclick, Beliefnet (sold to NewsCorp), Truveo (sold to AOL), and Rapt (sold to Microsoft). He also has been a special advisor at General Atlantic, and part of the founding group of New Resource Bank, which claims to be the country’s first commercial green bank.
American Lawyer listed Genachowski as one of the “Public Sector 45” in 1997, and Business Week listed Genachowski as one of 25 “Managers to Watch” in the media industry in 2005.
For Obama’s presidential campaign, Genachowski helped raise $500,000, and he served as chairman of the technology, media and telecommunications policy working group. He also advised and guided the Obama campaign’s use of technology and the Internet for grassroots engagement and participation. Following the November election, Genachowski was co-leader of the transition team’s technology, innovation, and government reform group.
Many consumer-oriented groups warmly greeted Genachowski’s selection to take over the FCC. Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, remarked, “Under Julius Genachowski’s leadership, the FCC’s compass would point toward the public interest.”
One of the FCC’s first decisions in the Obama administration will be whether to postpone the date of the digital transition for televisions, now set for February 17, 2009. Obama has signaled his willingness to push back the date in response to breakdowns in the converter coupon program which the federal government under George W. Bush promised would help consumers make the switch from analog technology to digital.
In 2001, Genachowski married Rachel Goslins, a lawyer and filmmaker. The couple has two children and Genachowski has a son from his first marriage.
Genachowski May Enhance FCC Clout (by Ira Teinowitz,
In Search of Julius Genachowski (by Matthew Lasar, ars techinca)
The American Journey Continues: Reflections on Obama (by Rabbi Menachem Genack, New Jersey Jewish Standard)
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