Gordon Smith will step down as President and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters and move into an advisory and advocacy role effective Dec. 31, 2021, the trade group confirmed today. Chief Operating Officer Curtis LeGeyt will step into Smith’s role as the next President and CEO of NAB effective Jan. 1, 2022.
“It has been my great honor to give the lion’s roar for broadcasters – those who run into the storm, those who stand firm in chaos to hear the voice of the people, those who hold to account the powerful – and to stand with those of the fourth estate who have the hearts of public servants,” Smith said in a video message to members.
Smith’s announcement cuts short by two years an extension to his deal announced by the NAB in September 2017 that would have kept him at the helm of the trade group through 2023.
The former two-term U.S. senator from Oregon joined NAB as President and CEO in November 2009. Previously, he served as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP.
“Gordon is the ultimate statesman, bringing people together from both sides of the aisle to discuss ideas, find common ground and lead NAB to success on countless fronts,” NAB Joint Board of Directors Chairman Jordan Wertlieb, president of Hearst Television, said in a video message. “On behalf of the leadership of NAB, we extend our sincere gratitude for more than a decade of service to the broadcast industry. We look forward to continuing to work with Gordon and benefiting from his guidance for years to come.”
Wertlieb said Smith worked closely with the board leadership on a succession plan that will enable him to continue to serve NAB in a special advisory role through December 31, 2024, which includes lobbying on behalf of broadcasters.
“I am also delighted to share that NAB is in the enviable position of having cultivated top talent within the organization to provide for a smooth and stable transition in leadership,” Wertlieb said. “Curtis LeGeyt has the utmost confidence of the NAB leadership and staff to lead our association into the future.”
LeGeyt has been with NAB for nearly a decade, during which time he led several successful legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of broadcasters, including the permanent reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR), the inclusion of $1 billion in RAY BAUM’s Act to reimburse stations impacted by the spectrum auction repack, and successful passage of the Music Modernization Act.
Politico notes that LeGeyt is a former Democratic staffer on Capitol Hill who worked on the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, which could boost his standing under a Biden administration and at a time when both chambers of Congress are controlled by Democrats.
Before assuming his current role as Chief Operating Officer, LeGeyt served for five years as NAB’s Executive VP of Government Relations. Before joining NAB, LeGeyt was senior counsel to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (VT).
“I am honored and humbled to be named the next leader of this great organization,” said LeGeyt. “To represent the broadcast industry and the local stations that bind our communities together in a moment of such tremendous change across the media landscape is a privilege. Our stations’ role in communities across this country has never been more important, and I look forward to working every day to ensure their ability to grow and thrive.”
View statements from Smith and Wertlieb here.