Deborah Lathen

Deborah Lathen

About Me

Deborah Lathen is an accomplished corporate attorney, business leader, domestic and international policy advisor. Lathen has enjoyed a distinguished career in both the private and public sectors, having held a senior executive position with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), legal and senior management positions with national law firms and Fortune 500 corporations, including The Quaker Oats Company, TRW and Nissan Motor Corporation USA. In February 2007 she was named a director of British Telecom, a FTSE 50 and global telecommunications company where she was a member of the Remunerations and the Committee for Responsible and Sustainable Business. She completed her term in 2010. In July 2011 she was appointed by the Mayor of the District of Columbia to the newly created District of Columbia Board of Ethics and Accountability where she serves as a member of the board.

In 2001 Lathen established Lathen Consulting, LLC which specializes in providing policy, legal, and advisory services to high tech, telecommunications and media companies. Her client list includes Fortune 500 companies, such as Scientific-Atlanta, a Cisco company, Verizon Communications, AT&T and others.

Lathen was appointed Chief of the FCC’s Cable Services Bureau in May 1998 where she led a 100+ team of lawyers, economists and engineers in helping to craft today’s converged digital and broadband landscape. Lathen provided legal, policy and regulatory guidance to the FCC chairman and commissioners on cable, broadband, video programming and Internet industries as the agency spurred the development of the then-nascent broadband marketplace. As Chief of the Cable Bureau, Lathen presided over some of the most groundbreaking regulatory and merger proceedings that shape the way consumers access the Internet, place phone calls, and receive video programming. She supervised the analysis and review of several high-profile mergers, including AT&T’s acquisition of TCI and the merger of AOL and Time Warner.

Under her direction, the Cable Bureau published a number of landmark reports, including Broadband Today, a comprehensive report on the state of the broadband industry that contained policy recommendations that helped foster the explosive growth of the industry. Lathen regularly interfaces with the telephone, video, cable and broadcast industries and is frequently invited to speak at industry conferences and panels, such as the Practising Law Institute, the National Cable Association Annual Conference, and the British American Business Association. She has also lectured at Duke University, the University of Washington and Howard University.

A regulatory expert on telecommunications issues, Lathen has testified before the U.S. Congress and the National Governors Association. She was a keynote 2 speaker at a Financial Times conference in London, where she detailed the rollout of advanced telecommunications services in the U.S. Lathen was a keynote speaker at the Second Annual Sino-American Cable Convergence Conference in Beijing China and was a representative of the U.S. telecommunications regulator in meetings with high-ranking Chinese government officials on cable and other communications issues. She has appeared on CNN Financial News and C-Span as an expert on cable and telecommunications issues.

During her 8-year tenure at Nissan Motor Corporation in Carson, California, Lathen was the first African-American woman to serve as a senior manager. She was Director of National Consumer Affairs, where she was commended for reorganizing and instituting customer service initiatives that improved customer satisfaction levels, enhanced employee morale and increased brand loyalty. While at Nissan, Lathen also was a member of the Legal Department management team holding the position of Managing Counsel. In that role, Lathen supervised the Business Transactions Group, which was responsible for providing a full complement of legal services to Nissan and its North American affiliates. She developed and implemented the company’s antitrust training and environmental law compliance programs. Lathen also led the legal team that successfully negotiated the first and largest joint product development agreement between Nissan Motor Corporation and the Ford Motor Company. Prior to Nissan, Lathen was Senior Counsel at TRW in Orange, California where she specialized in transactional and litigation matters. Early in her legal career, Lathen served as a litigation attorney with The Quaker Oats Company in Chicago, Illinois. Lathen was also an associate with Foley and Lardner in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and with Keck, Mahin and Cate in Chicago, Illinois.

Throughout her career, Lathen has worked with a diverse range of non-profit entities. Currently, she serves on the Minorities in Telecommunications and Communications (MMTC), a telecommunications civil rights group. Prior board memberships include Rails to Trails National Conservancy, which converts unused railroad tracks into biking and recreational paths, Safe Harbor Shelter for homeless women and children in Los Angeles, California. Lathen was also instrumental in establishing the Nissan Foundation, serving as the Foundation’s Secretary for a five-year period. The foundation provided grants to small business and community organizations for the development of inner city areas of Los Angeles.

Lathen was born in St. Louis, Missouri and was raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. She received a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, in Government with Distinction in All Subjects from Cornell University. She is a member of the California, Illinois and Wisconsin State Bar Associations.

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Contact Details

Lathen Consulting, LLC
Washington, DC