President-Elect Donald Trump's picks to search for suitable nominees to staff top federal antitrust and competition posts are good omens for AT&T (T) and Time Warner (TWX) , the media giants who announced plans to merge last month.
The appointment of staunch conservatives to the transition team won't cheer liberals already distraught by Trump's election. But they do indicate that fair-minded experts in their field will be in charge of telecom and competition policy. They also should dampen fears generated by Trump himself on the campaign trail that he'll use regulatory powers to strike back at media outlets and company officials that clashed with him during the lead-up to the election. When the Time Warner deal was announced Trump said he'd have it blocked if elected.
Heading the efforts to find a new Federal Communication Commission chair and advise the incoming administration on where it should take telecom policy is Jeffrey Eisenach. He is co-chair of economic consulting firm NERA's communications, media, and Internet practice and an adjunct economics professor at George Mason University Law School, where he teaches about regulated industries. He's also a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
Eisenach has served in senior policy positions at the Federal Trade Commission and the White House Office of Management and Budget and served on the 1980-81 Reagan-Bush Transition Team on the FTC and the 2000-2001 Bush-Cheney Transition Team on the Federal Communications Commission.
Serving the Trump Transition Team on staffing the FTC and giving input on the Department of Justice's antitrust picks is former FTC member Joshua Wright, now executive director of the Global Antitrust Institute at George Mason University. Wright served as an FTC commissioner from 2013 to 2015.