Public Knowledge Names Chris Lewis CEO

The FCC and Public Knowledge veteran succeeds the retiring Gene Kimmelman as head of the public interest group.

Public interest group Public Knowledge today appointed Chris Lewis as the organization’s new president and chief executive officer as Gene Kimmelman steps down from the position.

Lewis brings 17 years of experience in policymaking and political activism, including the last decade working in technology policy at the FCC and as vice president at Public Knowledge.

In its announcement, the group said: “As Public Knowledge defends the internet in 2020 and beyond, it will continue promoting its fundamental values to make sure no one is left behind in the new digital era. This entails fighting for the public interest even as the nation’s largest broadband providers, wireless carriers and media conglomerates — increasingly the same entities — modernize our communications infrastructure and challenge the public’s right to free expression online.

“As more Americans begin questioning the market dominance of Big Tech, Public Knowledge will continue bringing the stories of entrepreneurs, small business owners and innovators to Capitol Hill. And in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Public Knowledge will continue defending consumers’ right to privacy. Under Kimmelman’s leadership, Public Knowledge has prioritized investing in a new generation of tech policy advocates, and the elevation of Chris Lewis as president and CEO is an important return on that investment.”

Maura Corbett, CEO-founder of the Glen Echo Group and Public Knowledge board chair, said: “Chris Lewis has the rare combination of public interest advocacy experience, strategic vision, and dedication to the community that makes him a wonderful fit as Public Knowledge’s President and CEO. We’re elated that he’s accepted the opportunity to lead the organization into its next chapter.”

And Lewis said: “I am grateful to be selected as the third president and CEO of Public Knowledge. Our founder, Gigi Sohn, and outgoing President Gene Kimmelman have both served as role models of what public interest advocacy is all about. I am proud to follow in their footsteps as we work to build on this foundation.

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“Our generation of Americans are living in a time when technology is more integrated in our daily experience than ever before. This brings exciting new innovations and experiences, but it also requires smart policy to protect the long-standing values and expectations of the American people. This includes the first amendment freedom of expression, fair and functional access to creative works, and affordable access to communications. These values are central to Public Knowledge’s mission and work, and we will continue to work with all communities to defend these rights in our technology infused society.”

As a part of this leadership transition, Public Knowledge appointed Kimmelman as senior adviser, saying: “he will continue providing strategic counsel for increasing competition in the technology marketplace. He will also continue developing the next generation of public interest advocates through a fellowship program that trains young advocates with a diverse background to promote fairness and openness in technology. Kimmelman’s decades of experience in media and tech policy, especially antitrust policy, will be a tremendous resource as Public Knowledge remains at the vanguard of technology and internet policy.”

Kimmelman said: “It is time for a new generation of public interest advocates to lead Public Knowledge, and Chris Lewis has just the right ideals and skills to rise to the occasion. I’m thrilled to hand the baton to Chris and step aside to support the excellent team of advocates he will lead.”

Additionally, Public Knowledge announced the promotion of Eboni Speight, John Bergmayer and Phillip Berenbroick to new senior leadership roles as chief operating officer, legal director and policy director, respectively.

Speight previously was director of human resources and administration; Bergmayer was a senior counsel specializing in telecommunications, internet and intellectual property issues; and Berenbroick was the senior policy counsel, focusing on broadband competition, media mergers, spectrum policy and copyright reform.


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