Following a report citing three individuals close to the matter that appeared in POLITICO, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) confirmed early Wednesday that its President/CEO — former Oregon Senator Gordon Smith — will transition to a 36-month advisory and advocacy role at the end of 2021.
His successor is the NAB’s Chief Operating Officer.
Smith will be succeeded by Curtis LeGeyt, who will take on the media industry’s largest and most influential lobbying and advocacy association on Jan. 1, 2022.
In a video message to NAB members, Smith said, “It has been my great honor to give the lion’s roar for broadcasters – those who run into the storm, those who stand firm in chaos to hear the voice of the people, those who hold to account the powerful – and to stand with those of the fourth estate who have the hearts of public servants.”
Smith joined the NAB as its President/CEO in November 2009. Under his leadership, NAB saw its New York show grow as the Radio Show evolved to a co-production with the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). The 9-0 Supreme Court decision in FCC v. Prometheus, which saw the NAB join the Commission in its fight to win approval of cross-ownership rule “modernization” the FCC approved in November 2017, is perhaps the crown achievement of the NAB during Smith’s run as its head.
Before joining the NAB, Smith was a well-admired two-term Republican Senator from Oregon. After leaving the Senate, he served as a senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling LLP.
Among those saluting Smith is Hearst Television President Jordan Wertlieb, who serves as the NAB Joint Board of Directors. “Gordon is the ultimate statesman, bringing people together from both sides of the aisle to discuss ideas, find common ground and lead NAB to success on countless fronts,” Wertlieb said. “On behalf of the leadership of NAB, we extend our sincere gratitude for more than a decade of service to the broadcast industry. We look forward to continuing to work with Gordon and benefiting from his guidance for years to come.”
Wertlieb noted that Smith worked closely with the board leadership on a succession plan that will enable him to continue to serve NAB in a special advisory role through December 31, 2024, which includes lobbying on behalf of the broadcasters.
“I am also delighted to share that NAB is in the enviable position of having cultivated top talent within the organization to provide for a smooth and stable transition in leadership,” Wertlieb said. “Curtis has the utmost confidence of the NAB leadership and staff to lead our association into the future.”
LeGeyt has been with NAB for nearly a decade, during which time he led several highly successful legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of broadcasters, including the permanent reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR), inclusion of $1 billion in RAY BAUM’s Act to reimburse stations impacted by the spectrum auction repack, and successful passage of the Music Modernization Act.
Prior to assuming his current role as COO, LeGeyt served for five years as NAB’s EVP of Government Relations. Before joining the NAB, LeGeyt was senior counsel to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, of Vermont.
“I am honored and humbled to be named the next leader of this great organization,” LeGeyt said. “To represent the broadcast industry and the local stations that bind our communities together in a moment of such tremendous change across the media landscape is a privilege. Our stations’ role in communities across this country has never been more important, and I look forward to working every day to ensure their ability to grow and thrive.”
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