William E. Kennard is the United States’ Ambassador to the European Union. Prior to assuming this position, Mr. Kennard was a Global Partner and Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm with approximately $90 billion under management. Mr. Kennard joined The Carlyle Group in May 2001. At The Carlyle Group, Mr. Kennard specialized in investments in the telecommunications and media sectors.
Before joining The Carlyle Group, Mr. Kennard served as chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission from November 1997 to January 2001. He presided over the agency at an historic time. During his tenure, he shaped policies that created an explosion of new wireless phones, brought the Internet to a majority of American households, and resulted in billions of dollars of investment in new broadband technologies. At the same time, he implemented bold new policies to bridge the digital divide in the United States and around the world.
Mr. Kennard is well known for his advocacy for people at risk of being stranded on the wrong side of the digital divide. He implemented the FCC’s e-rate program, which brought the Internet to almost every school and library in the United States. Under Mr. Kennard’s leadership, the FCC dramatically expanded access to communications technologies for people with disabilities. The FCC also adopted policies to increase telephone service to rural areas, especially to Native Americans living on tribal lands. He reached out to create more ownership and employment opportunities for women and minorities.
As FCC chairman, Mr. Kennard promoted the benefits of technology worldwide. He pioneered an innovative FCC Development Initiative to assist countries in the developing world to participate more fully in the global growth of digital technology. Through this initiative, Mr. Kennard signed the first partnership agreements on behalf of the FCC with ten countries on four continents to share U.S. regulatory experience with emerging regulatory authorities.
U.S. News and World Report dubbed Kennard a “consumer champion for the digital age.” He has received many honors and awards for his accomplishments, including awards from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Easter Seals Foundation, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and honorary degrees from Howard University, Gallaudet University and Long Island University.
Mr. Kennard previously served on the boards of directors of The New York Times Company, Sprint Nextel Corporation (national US wireless carrier), Handspring, Inc. (manufacturer of the Treo and other wireless devices), eAccess Ltd. (national Japanese wireless carrier), as well as on the boards of several companies owned by The Carlyle Group.
Mr. Kennard also served on several nonprofit boards including the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, One Economy Corporation, Common Sense Media, Year-Up Inc., the Yale University Council, Gallaudet University and Media Access Project.
Before his appointment as FCC Chairman, Mr. Kennard served as the FCC’s general counsel from 1993 until 1997. He joined the FCC from the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand (now DLA Piper) where he was a partner and member of the firm’s board of directors.
Mr. Kennard is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School. He resides in Brussels, Belgium with his wife, Deborah Kennedy Kennard, and their son, Robert.
United States Mission to the European Union
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