Wheeler Makes Senior Staff Appointments

The new FCC chairman appoints Shannon Gilson, communications director and head of the Office of Media Relations; Jonathan Chambers, chief of the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis; Gary Epstein, special adviser to the chairman on incentive auctions; and John Leibovitz, special adviser to the chairman for spectrum policy.

On Monday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced the following senior appointments to bureau and office positions.

Shannon Gilson, Communications Director and Head of the Office of Media Relations — Gilson joins the commission from senior communications positions in the White House, most recently as special assistant to the president and director of cabinet communications, and prior to that as communications director to the Domestic Policy Council.

She was also the deputy director of public affairs in the U.S. Department of Commerce, where she worked on broadband expansion, consumer data privacy, and other issues with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.  Gilson has provided strategic counsel and communications planning to a large number of federal agency teams, addressing a range of domestic issues.

Previously, she was a regional communications director on the 2008 Obama for America campaign and a senior communications strategist at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Jonathan Chambers, Chief of the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis — Chambers has been at the FCC since May 2012, first as senior adviser and then as acting chief of the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis.

He previously served in government from 1987 to 1994, as the Republican staff director of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, legislative director for Sen. John C. Danforth (R-Mo.) and as a professional staff member to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.


Chambers’ private sector experience has involved roles in law, public policy and strategic planning working for wireless, cable, and Internet service providers in the United States and in Europe.

Gary Epstein, Special Adviser to the Chairman on Incentive Auctions — Epstein will continue as chair of the Incentive Auctions Task force and will also serve as special adviser to the chairman on incentive auctions. Epstein has served as head of the Task Force since April 2012, when he joined the commission.

Epstein had previously been the global chair of the communications practice group of Latham & Watkins, and served as the managing director and general counsel of a multi-stakeholder Aspen Institute project on cloud computing and the free flow of information.

He served as Common Carrier Bureau chief under Chairman Mark Fowler, as the first head of the digital television transition efforts under Acting Chairman Michael Copps, and as chairman of the FCC’s Industry Advisory Committee for the 1995 World Radiocommunication Conference.

John Leibovitz, Special Adviser to the Chairman for Spectrum Policy — In addition to his new role as a special adviser to the chairman for spectrum policy, Leibovitz will continue as deputy chief of the Wireless Bureau, a position he has held since 2009. In this role he oversees two divisions responsible for spectrum licensing and rulemaking.

He was also the team lead on spectrum for the National Broadband Plan. Prior to joining the FCC, Leibovitz worked on the Presidential Transition Team, where he helped to launch the Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform working group. Before that, he worked as an entrepreneur and strategy consultant in telecom with an emphasis on the wireless sector. He started his business career with McKinsey & Co. in New York.

FCC Chairman Wheeler said: “I welcome Shannon to lead our robust communications team at the FCC and am thrilled Jonathan, Gary, and John will continue to serve the American people in their new roles. They add to an extraordinarily accomplished senior team to lead an ambitious policy agenda. Together, their leadership, expertise and insights will be invaluable additions and I look forward to working with them to serve the public interest during this exciting time in our space.”

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