The Entertainment Software Association, the U.S. video game industry's trade association, announced Thursday its new president will bea former official in the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush.

Michael Gallagher was the chief telecommunications and policy adviser to the Bush administration in his former role as assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information. He willtake over presidential duties at the association later in May.

The group has often found itself at the forefront of freedom of speech debates, especially when video game detractors — both within the government and private citizens — criticize thecontent of the industry's offeringsor blame games for incidents of youth violence.

Gallagher replaces the association's first president, Douglas Lowenstein, who led the ESA from 1994, when it was called the Interactive Digital Software Association.

Lowenstein left in February to become the administrator of a Washington, D.C., lobby group, the Private Equity Council, which represents the private equity sector.

"Mike's outstanding technology, policy, and government relations experience makes him a strong fit for the ESA, where issues like intellectual property, self-regulation, and industry, social and economic contributions are at the forefront of the agenda," Robbie Bach, the chair of the ESA board of directors and president of Microsoft Corp.'s entertainment and devices division, said in a written statement e-mailed to CBC News Online.

During Gallagher's four years at the U.S. Department of Commerce, he led efforts to form and promote U.S. internet policy internationally, as well as fosteringnew communications technologies such as ultrawideband wireless networking, broadband internet over power lines, and other advanced wireless services.

Gallagher is joining the ESA from his current role as chair of the communications practice at the law firm Perkins Coie.