Brett Tarnutzer, FCC assistant wireless bureau chief, who has been a key figure in the run-up to the FCC's incentive auction, is leaving the FCC, according to multiple sources.
He is said to be joining GSMA in London to work on spectrum management policy with John Giusti, former chief of staff and legal advisor to former FCC chairman Michael Copps.
GSMA represents mobile operators globally and has almost 800 members including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and ISPs. The association has pushed for more spectrum for mobile broadband, one of the goals of the incentive auction.
According to an FCC source, who confirmed the move on background, Brett's responsibilities are being divvied up among various resources with strong expertise on auction design, repacking and software, all areas Tarnutzer was involved in.
"Brett has been one of the linchpins of the FCC's auction planning but Gary Epstein and Howard Symons have a strong and deep bench behind him," said Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition Executive director Preston Padden, who represents broadcasters interested in the auction so long as the price and the framework is right.
"I had the opportunity to work closely with Brett and he is an exemplary public servant," said former Wireless Bureau chief and now National Association of Broadcasters incentive auction point man Rick Kaplan. "He has been a huge part of the FCC's incentive auction work. It's a big loss for the FCC, but given the large amount of talent at the agency, it should not throw them off their goal of holding the auction in early 2016."