For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 4, 1999
Contact: Morrie Goodman
(202) 482-4883


WASHINGTON-- Larry Irving, assistant secretary of Commerce for Telecommunications and Information, will leave the Commerce Department post at the end of the summer, Commerce Secretary William M. Daley announced today. Irving will be succeeded by Gregory L. Rohde, Senior Legislative Assistant to Democratic Senator Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota.

Irving, the first African American to head the Commerce Department agency, was appointed by President Clinton in 1993. He played a major role in the Administration's efforts to bring about the most sweeping reform of U.S. telecommunications law in 60 years, the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He was also a key proponent within the Clinton-Gore Administration of policies designed to promote diversity in the commercial broadcast arena and to increase opportunities for minorities and women in the emerging digital economy.

Secretary Daley, in accepting Irving's resignation, said: "Larry has been a tremendous asset to the Department of Commerce. He has been a master at crafting the Administration's telecommunications policy in a way that the resulting vast economic benefits will be accessible to Americans from all walks of life. I wish him well in his future endeavors."

During his six-year tenure at the Commerce Department, Irving earned a reputation as an international leader in telecommunications and information policy. He worked to open foreign markets to the U.S. telecommunications industry, secure better protection for consumers and open up advanced telecommunications services to rural and other underserved areas of the country.

A member of the Clinton-Gore Administration's technology team, Irving played a major role in the Administration's initiatives to promote Electronic Commerce and the Information Superhighway.

Most recently, Irving initiated a landmark Federal Government survey, "The Digital Divide: Falling Through the Net," which showed more Americans than ever have become connected to computers, telephones and the Internet, while the gap between information "haves" and "have nots" has widened significantly. The report recommended that pro-competition policies and initiatives aimed at increasing Internet access be pursued to close the digital divide.

Irving's successor, Gregory Rohde has served as Senator Dorgan's chief policy advisor on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which includes technology and telecommunications issues. He has contributed to significant legislation including, the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Before joining Senator Dorgan's staff, he served as a Team Coordinator for the Health Care Financing Administration on the Transition team for the Clinton-Gore Administration.