The NAB has hired former two-term U.S. Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon to succeed David Rehr as its president. Rehr stepped down last spring after a three-year stint at the helm of the trade association. A Republican, Smith will speak at the NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia next week, but will not officially take over until Nov. 1.
Gordon H. Smith, a former two-term Republican U.S. Senator from Oregon, has been selected as the new president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters.
Smith will speak at the NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia next week, but will not officially join NAB until Nov. 1. He will be introduced to the entire NAB board at a meeting in Dallas in mid-October.
Smith will succeed David Rehr, who stepped down last spring after three years in the post.
The 57-year-old Smith served in the U.S. Senate from 1996 to 2008, where his committee assignments included the Senate Commerce Committee, the panel that oversees all broadcast-related legislation. Smith also served on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Smith was defeated for reelection in 2008 by Democrat Jeff Merkley.
In March, he joined the government affairs and international trade practice of Covington & Burling as a senior advisor.The firm has a prominent communications law practice led by Jonathan Blake.
“I am honored to have been selected as NAB’s new president and consider this an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Smith in a prepared statement. “As radio and television stations embrace new technologies and new business opportunities, I look forward to articulating to public policymakers the unique and positive role played by local and network broadcasters in the fabric of American society.”
“We conducted an exhaustive search to identify the very best individual to lead a great trade association,” said NAB Joint Board Chairman Steve Newberry. “We’re convinced we have found that person in Gordon Smith. His background as a lawyer, a statesman, and as an entrepreneur — coupled with his extensive knowledge of broadcast issues from having served many years on the Commerce Committee — make Gordon eminently qualified to represent the interests of free and local broadcasters in Washington.”
Born in Pendleton, Oregon, Smith attended college at Brigham Young University, received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, and practiced law in New Mexico and Arizona before returning to Oregon to direct the family-owned Smith Frozen Foods business in Weston, Oregon.
Smith Frozen Foods is now a $50-million-a-year enterprise, and one of the largest frozen foods companies in America. Before serving in the U.S. Senate, Smith was elected to the Oregon State Senate, rising to the position of president of that body after only three years.
Smith and his wife Sharon are the parents of two children and have one grandchild.