FCC's Genachowski to lose his chief of staff

WASHINGTON Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:02pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Eddie Lazarus, chief of staff to the top U.S. communications regulator, is stepping down next month to pursue other endeavors, the Federal Communications Commission said on Tuesday.

Lazarus described his role at the agency as a "consigliere" to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

"Within this office, I'm the last stop before the chairman for pretty much everything," he told Reuters.

Lazarus came to the agency from the law and lobbying firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld in June 2009 to serve as Genachowski's chief of staff.

"I am enormously grateful to Chairman Genachowski for giving me the opportunity to enter public service and join his vital enterprise of bringing the extraordinary benefits of broadband to all Americans," he said.

Lazarus has not yet decided what he will do next.

His tenure at the agency put him at the forefront of major and controversial changes in the communications sector, including Universal Service Fund reform, adoption of net neutrality rules and major merger reviews.

Lazarus said he expects the 2012 agenda at the FCC to be more of the same, "attacking the problem of broadband access, broadband adoption and the spectrum crisis." His successor is not expected to be named until January.

"We'll miss Eddie deeply, but will continue to benefit every day from his leadership, strength and brilliance," Genachowski said in a statement.

(Reporting by Jasmin Melvin; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)