- He was the first Asian American to hold office in the Federal Communications Commission when former president Trump designated him as chairman in 2017.
Former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai was elected for a three-year term as an at-large member of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) Board of Trustees, effective Feb. 26. The Indian American who chaired the FCC from 2017 to 2021, is now a partner at Searchlight Capital Partners, a global investment firm.
In a statement, Pai said he’s “honored” to join the APTS board, and is “delighted to have the opportunity to help shape that vision going forward as a member of the board of trustees.”
Once identified as “the most hated man on the internet,” on social media and on various websites, Pai became the first Asian-American to hold office in the FCC when former president Trump designated him as chairman in 2017. Later that year, he was nominated to serve another term (while remaining chairman of the FCC), and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Oct. 2, 2017. He joined the FCC as a lawyer in its Office of General Counsel in 2007. After almost a dozen years at the agency, Pai returned to the private sector in January 2021.
He began the term with the controversial decision to roll back Title II classification and sought to loosen restrictions on broadcast station group ownership, undoing the net neutrality rules put in place under President Obama. He oversaw the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, which he called “a unique opportunity to speed up the deployment of 5G throughout the United States.”
Pai also “implemented new measures to fight robocalls and established a new three-digit code, 988, for a national suicide prevention hotline,” according to The Verge. He told The Washington Post that his work to streamline the agency’s operations and regulations was the “most transparent FCC in history.” He credited it for making “our nation’s communications networks faster, stronger, and more widely deployed than ever before.”
Pai is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Chicago Law School. He has worked in all three branches of government, including as a lawyer in various offices of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. He also served in the private sector at Jenner & Block LLP and Verizon Communications.
(Photo, courtesy Federal Communications Commission).