FirstNet CEO Mike Poth announces resignation

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FirstNet, the federal government’s nationwide public safety communications network being built by AT&T, has filled one of its seven open board spots through the reappointment of board member Edward Horowitz — but will have to find a replacement for its CEO, Mike Poth, who announced his resignation Wednesday afternoon.

Poth oversaw the the First Responder Network Authority, also called the FirstNet Authority, which operates as an individual agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. He is expected to resign by the end of the month for an opportunity in the private sector after having led the agency for less than three years.

“Now, FirstNet is here,” Poth said in a press statement. “Together with AT&T and the public-safety community, FirstNet is fully prepared to continue its momentum. In the meantime, I will be focusing my efforts on ensuring the smoothest transition for FirstNet and all of its stakeholders.”

Before joining FirstNet, Poth spent 14 years as an executive at defense contractor Northrop Grumman and four years as a vice president for Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s state and local government business.

His departure is the third high-level exit FirstNet has seen in recent weeks, following the departures of Board Chair Sue Swenson and Vice Chair Jeffrey Johnson in August. A press release from the U.S National Telecommunications and Information Administration and FirstNet said that the board will select a new CEO with the Department of Commerce, and for the interim will appoint an acting CEO.

“Mike Poth took the helm at a critical time and has been a driving force behind FirstNet’s success,” said David Redl, NTIA’s assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information in a statement. “We are grateful for his service, and he leaves us with a clear path for the ongoing deployment of a nationwide public safety network. I am confident that under the leadership of Ed Horowitz, the Board and FirstNet will continue to deliver for public safety, in coordination with AT&T, without interruption.”

Edward Horowitz, who was appointed to a two-year term as chair of the board by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, will serve as the replacement to Sue Swenson.

A full FirstNet board has 15 members —12 rotating appointees and three permanent members that include the attorney general, the secretary of Homeland Security and the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Currently, it has six spots open. To help achieve a quorum for its next quarterly meeting in December, the NTIA said three members — Neil E. Cox, Kevin McGinnis and Annise D. Parker — have agreed to extend their terms, which expired last month.

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