Tom Wheeler, senior fellow. GS

Tom Wheeler

Tom Wheeler is a visiting fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings. Wheeler is a businessman, author, and was chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from 2013 to 2017. For over four decades, Wheeler has been involved with new telecommunications networks and services. At the FCC, he led the efforts that resulted in the adoption of Net Neutrality, privacy protections for consumers, and increased cybersecurity, among other policies. His chairmanship has been described as, “The most productive Commission in the history of the agency.” During the Obama-Biden Transition of 2008/09 Wheeler led activities overseeing the agencies of government dealing with science, technology, space and the arts. As an entrepreneur, he started or helped start multiple companies offering innovative cable, wireless and video communications services. He is the only person to be selected to both the Cable Television Hall of Fame and the Wireless Hall of Fame, a fact President Obama joked made him “the Bo Jackson of telecom.” Prior to being appointed chairman of the FCC by President Obama, Wheeler was managing director at Core Capital Partners, a venture capital firm investing in early stage Internet Protocol (IP)-based companies. He is CEO of the Shiloh Group, a strategy development and private investment company specializing in telecommunications services. He co-founded SmartBrief, the Internet’s largest curated information service for vertical markets. From 1976 to 1984, Wheeler was associated with the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) where he was president and CEO from 1979 to 1984. Following NCTA, Wheeler was CEO of several high-tech companies, including the first company to offer high-speed delivery to home computers and the first digital video satellite service. From 1992 to 2004, Wheeler served as president and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA). Wheeler wrote “Take Command: Leadership Lessons from the Civil War” (Doubleday, 2000), “Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War” (HarperCollins, 2006), “From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future” (Brookings 2019), and “Techlash” (Brookings 2023). His commentaries on current events have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other leading publications. Wheeler served on President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board prior to being named to the FCC. Presidents Clinton and Bush each appointed him a trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He is the former chairman and president of the National Archives Foundation, and a former board member of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). He is a proud graduate of Ohio State University and the recipient of its Alumni Medal. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Rochester Institute of Technology. Wheeler resides in Washington, D.C.

Affiliations and external activities

  • Actility, S.A. – Board Member
  • AlefEdge – Board Member 
  • Brightcove, Inc. – Board Member
  • Gerson Lehrman Group – Consultant 
  • Global Counsel – Senior Advisor
  • RapidSOS – Advisory Board
  • Third Bridge – Consultant
  • Global Counsel – Senior Advisor
  • Past Positions

    • Chairman, FCC
    • President and CEO, Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA)
    • President and CEO, NCTA
  • Education

    • The Ohio State University
Filter by