Mike Poth led the FirstNet Authority for three years
The First Responders Network Authority’s CEO is leaving for the private sector after serving for three years as head of FirstNet.
FirstNet CEO Mike Poth has accepted a position in the private sector and will depart at the end of this month, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
“Mike Poth took the helm at a critical time and has been a driving force behind FirstNet’s success. We are grateful for his service, and he leaves us with a clear path for the ongoing deployment of a nationwide public safety network,” said David Redl, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information, in a statement.
The departure of FirstNet’s CEO to the private sector comes less than a month after two of the agency’s senior board members stepped down. Chair Sue Swenson and Vice-Chair Jeff Johnson — both original members from when the FirstNet board was first formed — both retired from the board in August. Their resignations meant that seven seats on the 15-member FirstNet board needed to be filled; NTIA accepted applications for open seats this past spring but has not yet said who will fill them.
Poth said in a statement that leading FirstNet had been “a true privilege. Now, FirstNet is here. 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.”
As it made Poth’s departure public, the Commerce Department also announced the new board chairman for FirstNet: Edward Horowitz, who has served on the FirstNet board since 2015.
“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,” Redl said. In addition, three board members whose terms expired last month have agreed to extend their terms “to ensure continuity and a quorum for the board,” according to NTIA, adding that “additional announcements on the board’s open seats will be forthcoming.”
“We have an experienced team and the strong public safety relationships needed to ensure first responders have the network they need for their lifesaving mission,” Horowitz said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the FirstNet Authority team, AT&T, and our nation’s first responders as the network buildout continues to move forward.”
The FirstNet board has 15 voting members, of which 12 are non-permanent members appointed by the secretary of commerce. The other three seats on the board are filled by the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
FirstNet’s board approved a $241 million budget last month. The board’s next meeting is in December.