Powell, who maintained a light regulatory hand as the nation's chief media watchdog but collected some of the largest indecency fines against U.S. broadcasters, plans to issue a statement but was not expected to hold a formal news conference, this official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Powell, the son of departing Secretary of State Colin Powell, does not plan to immediately step down, said the official. However, he will leave soon.
Powell privately informed some industry officials earlier this week that he planned to make the announcement, according to one industry source who met with Powell. This person also spoke on condition of anonymity out of respect for the timing of Powell's announcement.
Powell, a champion of deregulation who critics say is too pro-big business, rose from commissioner to chairman when President Bush took office in 2001. His term was to run until 2007.