Comcast has hired former Federal Communications Commission and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) commissioner Rachelle Chong as its regional vice president of government affairs for California.
In her new role, Chong will report to Curt Henninger, regional senior vice president for Comcast California, and will oversee all aspects of Comcast's governmental affairs activities, as well as all cable and telecommunications policy matters, throughout the state.
Chong will be based in the company's Livermore office and replaces Johnnie Giles, who was recently named executive director of external affairs at Comcast's corporate headquarters in Philadelphia.
"Rachelle has a proven track record as a prominent telecommunications lawyer, fair regulator and a motivational leader," said Henninger. "Her understanding of technology and 'hands-on' management style, combined with her creative approach to the ever-evolving world of communications and her life-long ties to California, make her the perfect choice for this role."
Chong was the first Asian American to serve as a FCC commissioner and the first Asian American CPUC commissioner. She was appointed to the FCC by President Clinton in May 1994 and served on the FCC until November 1997.
While at the FCC, Chong worked on the implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, digital television transition rules, children's television, the first spectrum auction rules and services rules for many new wireless services.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her to the CPUC in January 2006, and she was reappointed in December 2008. At the CPUC, Chong led broadband initiatives and regulatory reform in the communications area, including implementation of the state's first video franchise law. She also led the CPUC's smart grid, electric vehicle, demand response and dynamic pricing energy initiatives.
Following her stint at the FCC and prior to joining the CPUC, Chong served as a partner with the International law firm of Coudert Brothers in San Francisco and Palo Alto, leading its West Coast Telecommunications and Internet Practice Group.
She then went on to serve as the general counsel and vice president of government relations for broadband office Inc., a Kleiner Perkins-funded broadband, communications and applications service provider start-up.
After her CPUC service, Chong was appointed by the governor to be special counsel of advanced information and communications technologies for the California Technology Agency. In this capacity, she led broadband, digital literacy and public safety communications initiatives for the state and advocated before the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Commerce and Congress on communications policy matters.
Chong brings 27 years of experience to her new position. She began her career in 1984, practicing communications law before the Federal Communications Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission with the law firms of Kadison Pfaelzer in Washington, D.C., and Graham & James in San Francisco.