Former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai has been elected to a three-year term as an at-large member of the America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) board of trustees, effective Feb 26, 2024.
The first Indian American official to chair the FCC from 2017 to 2021, is now a partner at Searchlight Capital Partners, a global investment firm.
“America’s Public Television Stations are honored and delighted to welcome Ajit Pai to the APTS board,” said APTS president and CEO Patrick Butler announcing Pai’s election on Nov 14.
“Over the course of his four years leading the FCC, Chairman Pai saw clearly the value of public television stations’ public service missions of education, public safety and civic leadership, and his support on matters ranging from the spectrum auctions to the adoption of the NEXTGEN TV broadcast standard reflected that vision.
“As we plan to make the most of our spectrum assets in service to the American people, Chairman Pai will bring an immensely useful perspective and extraordinary experience to our work,” Butler said. “We’re most grateful that he has agreed to contribute his formidable talents to help advance public television’s service to the public.”
“I am honored to join the distinguished board of America’s Public Television Stations,” said Pai. “For many years, I have appreciated the thoughtful approach APTS President and CEO Pat Butler and the entire APTS team have brought to challenging communications issues, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to help shape that vision going forward as a member of the board of trustees. And I have long recognized the value of public television, from my childhood affinity for Sesame Street through my tenure at the FCC.”
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 US Department of Justice and the US Senate Judiciary Committee.
He also served in the private sector at Jenner & Block LLP and Verizon Communications. He joined the FCC as a lawyer in its Office of General Counsel in 2007.
Nominated to be a Commissioner in 2011 by President Barack Obama, he was confirmed unanimously by the US Senate on May 7, 2012, and was sworn in on May 14, 2012, for a five-year term. In January 2017, newly inaugurated President Donald Trump designated Pai as FCC Chairman. He was the first Asian-American to hold the office.
Later that year, Pai was nominated to serve another term (while remaining Chairman of the FCC), and was confirmed by the US Senate on October 2, 2017. After almost a dozen years at the agency, Pai returned to the private sector on January 20, 2021.
APTS is a nonprofit membership organization ensuring a strong and financially sound public television system and helping member stations provide essential public services in education, public safety and civic leadership to the American people.