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Former Mississippi Rep. Chip Pickering will be the new CEO of COMPTEL, the trade association for the competitive communications industry, effective Jan. 2. He will succeed Jerry James, who has served as CEO for the past six and a half years. James plans to pursue new ventures in the telecom private sector.
Pickering served in Congress as a Republican from 1996 to 2008, when he decided not to run for reelection. He served on the House Energy & Commerce Committee,and was vice chairman from 2002 to 2006 and a member of the Telecommunications Subcommittee. He also was co-chairman and founder of the Congressional Wireless Caucus and an assistant minority whip of the House. Previously, Pickering worked for Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and served as a staff member on the Senate Commerce Committee, where he helped shape the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In 1989, President George H. W. Bush appointed Pickering as a Department of Agriculture liaison to the former European Communist countries. He briefly served as a Southern Baptist missionary in Hungary also in 1989.
Pickering is a partner with Capitol Resources, a public affairs and government relations firm based in Jackson, Miss. In this role, he has represented an array of telecom clients, including wireless, cable and competitive broadband providers, as well as nonprofits and companies specializing in education, energy, technology and defense.
He earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Mississippi, where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity; and a master's degree at Baylor.