Ajit Pai

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Person.png Ajit Pai  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Ajit V. Pai headshot.jpg
BornAjit Varadaraj Pai
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Alma materHarvard University, University of Chicago
Member ofMarshall Memorial Fellowship, Marshall Memorial Fellowship/2011
FCC Chair under Trump, where he planned to do away with net neutrality rules. Marshall Memorial Fellow.

Employment.png Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission

In office
January 23, 2017 - January 20, 2021
Appointed byDonald Trump

Employment.png Member of the Federal Communications Commission

In office
May 14, 2012 - January 20, 2021

Ajit Varadaraj Pai became Federal Communications Commission/Chair on January 23, 2017. After becoming FCC chairman, Pai announced that he plans to do away with net neutrality rules.[1] Gizmodo termed him an "ISP-endorsed frontman".[2]

In 2011 he was chosen for a Marshall Memorial Fellowship, a leadership development initiative of the CIA-front German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Early life and education

Ajit Pai was born on January 10, 1973,[3] in Buffalo, New York. His father, Varadaraj Pai, and his mother, Radha Pai, immigrated to the United States from India in 1971. His father was a urologist and his mother was an anesthesiologist.[4][5][6][7][8]

Pai grew up in Parsons, Kansas, where his parents worked at the county hospital. After graduating from Parsons Senior High School in 1990, Pai studied social studies at Harvard University, where he was a member of the Harvard Speech and Parliamentary Debate Society.[9] He graduated from Harvard in 1994 with an A.B. with honors. He then attended the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review,[10] He graduated with a J.D. in 1997.


After law school, Pai clerked for Judge Martin Leach-Cross Feldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana from 1997 to 1998.[11] Pai then worked for the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice as an Honors Program trial attorney on the Telecommunications Task Force. There, he worked on proposed mergers and acquisitions and on novel requests for regulatory relief following the enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Pai left his Department of Justice post in February 2001 to serve as Associate General Counsel at Verizon Communications Inc., where he handled competition matters, regulatory issues, and counseling of business units on broadband initiatives.[11] Pai left Verizon in April 2003 and was hired as Deputy Chief Counsel to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts. He returned to the Department of Justice to serve as Senior Counsel in the Office of Legal Policy in May 2004. He held that position until February 2005, when he was hired as Chief Counsel to the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights.

Between 2007 and 2011, Pai held several positions in the FCC's Office of General Counsel, serving most prominently as Deputy General Counsel. In this role, he had supervisory responsibility over several dozen lawyers in the Administrative Law Division and worked on a wide variety of regulatory and transactional matters involving the wireless, wireline, cable, Internet, media, and satellite industries.[11] In 2010, Pai was one of 55 individuals nationwide chosen for the 2011 Marshall Memorial Fellowship, a leadership development initiative of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.[11] Pai returned to the private sector in April 2011, working in the Washington, D.C., office of law firm Jenner & Block where he was a partner in the Communications Practice.

In 2011, Pai was then nominated for a Republican Party position on the Federal Communications Commission by President Barack Obama at the recommendation of Minority leader Mitch McConnell.[12] He was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on May 7, 2012, and was sworn in on May 14, 2012, for a term that concluded on June 30, 2016.[11] Then Pai was designated chairman of the FCC by President Donald Trump in January 2017 for a five-year term.[13] He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for the additional five-year term on October 2, 2017.

In 2019, he was named forty-seventh among the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare.[14] He resigned from his post on 20 January 2021, following the inauguration of Joe Biden as President of the United States.[15]