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Diane Rinaldo. Photo: Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

The head of the Commerce Department's tech and telecom branch is leaving the agency, according to an internal email obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: Diane Rinaldo, who is acting administrator for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, emailed staff a "fond farewell" on Monday.

  • "As my time at NTIA comes to an end, I want to thank you for your dedication to our organization and its mission," Rinaldo wrote in the email. "My main goal in this position was to be a champion and bullhorn for all of the good work you do, and I will always be an NTIA supporter."
  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a statement applauded Rinaldo's work on "5G, supply chain security, broadband and public safety communications," adding, "I have been proud of her leadership and wish her the best in her future endeavors."

Why it matters: NTIA is in charge of managing the federal government's use of spectrum at a time when the wireless industry is hungry for more airwaves for 5G services.

  • Typically, federal agencies work through NTIA to weigh in on FCC plans involving federal airwaves.
  • That process has become more fraught recently as NTIA and other departments clash with the FCC over spectrum plans. Rinaldo took over after David Redl left the agency in May amid 5G spectrum feuds.

What's next: Doug Kinkoph, Commerce Department acting deputy assistant secretary, will fill in for Rinaldo as acting administrator.

  • Multiple sources have said they expect the White House to tap Ed Hearst, a Treasury Department official, to take over the agency on a permanent basis.
  • But the timeline is short for nomination and Senate confirmation ahead of the election next year.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

Go deeper

Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults

A vaccination center installed at the Barbara Chapel of St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP via Getty Images

Austria's lower house of parliament voted on Thursday in favor of making COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for most adults from next month.

Why it matters: The bill is expected to soon pass the upper house and be signed by President Alexander Van der Bellen in order for the law to take effect Feb. 1, per Reuters. It'd make Austria the first EU nation to impose such a sweeping mandate.

Hope King, author of Closer
Updated 4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

Mitch McConnell's remarks on Black voters raise ire

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a Capitol Hill news conference earlier this year. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been widely criticized for comments he made this week about Black American voters.

Driving the news: When asked by a reporter Wednesday about concerns among voters of color, McConnell said "the concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, Black American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans."