Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai said on Monday he would step down from the agency in January, leaving office in the wake of President Donald Trump's reelection defeat.
His departure will create an opening for the incoming Biden administration to shape its own Democratic majority atop the five-member regulatory body following Inauguration Day. Pai, whom Trump tapped to lead the FCC in January 2017, will resign from his post on Jan. 20, the day President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime," Pai said in a statement. "Together, we’ve delivered for the American people over the past four years: closing the digital divide; promoting innovation and competition, from 5G on the ground to broadband from space; protecting consumers; and advancing public safety. And this FCC has not shied away from making tough choices.
"As a result, our nation’s communications networks are now faster, stronger, and more widely deployed than ever before," the GOP agency chief added.
It is traditional for FCC chairs to step down in deference to incoming administrations from the opposing party.
The GOP agency chief leaves a robust and at times explosively controversial legacy during his four years leading the commission. He led the partisan repeal of Obama-era net neutrality regulation in 2017, which prompted bomb threats at the agency and threats to Pai's family.