The National Association of Broadcasters has tapped former U.S. Senator Gordon H. Smith as its new president and CEO.
Currently a partner at Covington & Burling LLP, Smith is a former two-term U.S. Senator from Oregon. He served from 1996 to 2008, and his committee assignments included the Senate Commerce Committee.
Smith will succeed David Rehr, a former beer-industry executive, who stepped down last spring after three years in the job. NAB COO Janet MacGregor has been serving as acting president in the interim.
Executives close to the NAB said that high on the list of factors in its executive search was someone with close political connections to lawmakers, as Smith naturally has from his years in Congress.
Smith also served on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
He will officially join the NAB on Nov. 1, and will be introduced at next week's Radio Show in Philadelphia.
Before his political run, Smith practiced law in New Mexico and Arizona, as well as running a family-owned Smith Frozen Foods business, which pulls in $50 million annually.
NAB Joint Board Chairman Steve Newberry said: "His background as a lawyer, a statesman and as an entrepreneur -- coupled with his extensive knowledge of broadcast issues from having served many years on the Commerce Committee -- make Gordon eminently qualified to represent the interests of free and local broadcasters in Washington."