In an interview earlier today, the FTC's Chairman Jon Leibowitz stated that he'll formally announce his departure from the agency tomorrow. Leibowitz first joined the agency in 2004, eventually being dubbed Chairman in 2009. Whispers of his imminent departure have been circulating since last year, although nothing had been confirmed until today.
Potential candidates to take Leibowitz place include Howard Shelanski, who is the commission's Director of the Bureau of Economics, lawyer Leslie Overton, Julie Brill, Edith Ramirez, and Philip Weiser. Because the commission is split with two Republicans and two Democrats while the transition takes place, some fear this partisan nature could have a negative impact on the agency.
Leibowitz has stated that such fears are not necessary, saying, "We [the FTC] have been a largely functional agency in an often-dysfunctional Washington. I think we have done our job the way we are supposed to, and in a consensus-driven way." Still, not everyone shares his optimism, and some feel that what is likely to be a long process in getting a new commissioner will further compound the issue.
The FTC has been in the news quite a bit over the last several months, mostly in regards to the antitrust probe against Google that ultimately fizzled out into little more than a wrist slapping. In line with that, some have criticized Chairman Leibowitz as too ready to take settlements rather than go after companies. Still, Leibowitz' stint as chairman has had its upsides, particularly in consumer protection.
[via Washington Post]