Comcast hiring FCC official as lobbyist

Posted: May 12, 2011

Comcast Corp. said Wednesday that it was filling one of its top lobbying positions with a Federal Communications Commission official who voted in January to approve its $30 billion merger with NBCUniversal.

Meredith Attwell Baker, a Republican FCC commissioner, will become senior vice president of government affairs for NBCUniversal in Washington after her FCC term ends in June, the company said.

Before being nominated by President Obama to the FCC (she became commissioner in July 2009), Baker had worked in several posts under George W. Bush, including acting administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and acting assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information.

She will replace Bob Okun, who announced last month he was stepping down as head of NBCUniversal's government affairs to open his own firm, Comcast said in a prepared statement.

"I've seen Meredith's mastery of issues up close as we've worked together on issues at the FCC and NTIA," said Rick Cotton, NBCUniversal's executive vice president and general counsel, with whom she will work.

"Meredith's executive branch and business experience along with her exceptional relationships in Washington bring Comcast and NBCUniversal the perfect combination of skills," said Kyle McSlarrow, president of Comcast/NBCUniversal for Washington, to whom Baker will report.

Baker, a lawyer whose prior jobs involved telecommunications, intellectual-property, and international-trade issues as well as a post with the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, described her seven years of government service as a privilege.

"I'm excited to embark on a new phase of my career with Comcast and NBCUniversal," she said.

In siding with the majority in the FCC's 4-1 vote to approve Comcast's merger with NBC in January, Baker helped push forward a deal that allowed the nation's largest cable network to take ownership of a massive portfolio of content providers. The deal buttressed the company's influence not only over cable TV but the expanding world of Internet-based entertainment.

The FCC imposed a number of conditions on Comcast before approving the merger - a move that Baker and a fellow Republican on the FCC criticized in a statement that they issued jointly at the time.

Contact staff writer Maria Panaritis at 215-854-2431


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