As expected, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association has named Kyle McSlarrow, formerly a deputy secretary of energy, president and CEO of the cable industry's largest trade group.
A former aide to key members of the U.S. Senate, McSlarrow will give NCTA important connections to Republican leadership on Capitol Hill as Congress begins a sweeping rewrite of the country’s telecommunications laws.
McSlarrow’s expected appointment was reported by on broadcastingcable.com Monday.
McSlarrow, who takes his post March 1, replaces Robert Sachs, who announced plans to resign in June.
"Kyle brings to NCTA a long record of achievement in government, a history of success in working with congressional leaders, solid experience in dealing with regulatory issues, and a strong belief in cable's potential to serve the needs of American consumers in a free and competitive marketplace," said Glenn Britt, chairman of Time Warner Cable and NCTA board chairman. "We are fortunate to have Kyle join NCTA, particularly as Congress embarks on a major review of the 1996 Telecommunications Act."
McSlarrow praised the cable industry for “providing great benefit to consumers” through quality programming and new services and technology. “I'm eager to lead the effort to tell cable's story in Washington," said McSlarrow.
Before joining the Department of Energy in 2001, McSlarrow was a lobbyist for Grassroots.com, a privately-held Internet company marketing web-based political tools and services.
From November 1998 to February 2000, he was chairman for the Quayle 2000 presidential campaign. McSlarrow’s Capitol Hill experience includes serving as chief of staff for the late U.S. Senator Paul Coverdell and deputy chief of staff and chief counsel for Senate Majority Leaders Bob Dole and Trent Lott.
McSlarrow ran unsuccessfully as a Republican nominee in Virginia's 8th Congressional District in 1992 and 1994.
McSlarrow also worked was an associate with Washington law firm Hunton & Williams. A Virginia native, he earned degrees from Cornell University and the University of Virginia law school. He and his wife, Alison, live in Falls Church, Va.
Kyle McSlarrow’s lack of industry experience won’t hinder his ability to be an effective president of the main cable trade group, says Time Warner Chairman Glen Britt, who also is chairman of the NCTA.
“He didn’t know anything about energy when he went to work for the Department of Energy. If he can learn about nuclear energy, he can learn about our issues,” Britt said.
In the past NCTA and other Washington trade groups generally drew senior leadership from the ranks of their industries, but the rapid pace of new product development, such as the roll out of high-speed data, diminishes the importance of cable experience, Britt added.
“The cable industry is changing really fast. We’re a very different business than we were, say, 10 years ago. Several years ago being steeped in the industry brought unique skills and know-how. I think today it’s good for us to hire people with different sets of skills and experience.”