FTC Names New Consumer Protection Chief

Signaling an increased activism on consumer protection issues, newly appointed FTC Chair Jon Leibowitz appointed Georgetown Law Professor David C. Vladeck as the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. According to the FTC, Vladeck is a thirty-year veteran of the Public Citizen Litigation Group, a public interest law firm founded by Ralph Nader and Alan Morrison. Vladeck replaces former Director Lydia Parnes and acting Director Eileen Harrington. This appointment is consistent with the anticipated increase in scrutiny on privacy, online advertising, and marketing practices.

According to the FTC press release:

David C. Vladeck ... has been a Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, teaching federal courts, government processes, civil procedure, and First Amendment litigation. He co-directed the Center's Institute for Public Representation, a clinical law program for civil rights, civil liberties, First Amendment, open government, and regulatory litigation. Vladeck previously spent almost 30 years with Public Citizen Litigation Group, including 10 years as Director. He has argued a number of First Amendment and civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and more than 60 cases before the federal courts of appeal and state courts of last resort.

Other senior staff appointments and bios according to the FTC release:

Richard A. Feinstein, who was appointed Director of the Bureau of Competition, is rejoining the agency from a partnership at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, where he focused on antitrust litigation and counseling. He was formerly an Assistant Director in the Bureau of Competition's Health Care Services and Products Division, focusing on antitrust enforcement, including anticompetitive practices and mergers involving health care providers and payers, and anticompetitive conduct in the pharmaceutical industry. Feinstein worked previously at McKenna & Cuneo, LLP, and he was a trial attorney and supervisor in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Joseph Farrell, who was named Director of the Bureau of Economics, has been a Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has been Chair of the Competition Policy Center and an Affiliated Professor in the Haas School of Business. He also has served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief Economist for the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and as Chief Economist for the Federal Communications Commission. His research has centered on competition policy, compatibility standards, and innovation. Farrell is a Fellow of the Econometric Society.

Susan S. DeSanti, who will be Director of Policy Planning, joins the Commission from Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, where her practice has focused on antitrust counseling and litigation in a variety of industries. She previously spent 15 years at the Commission, during which she helped develop federal antitrust policy in standard setting, intellectual property licensing, antitrust and patent issues, generic drug entry, mergers, and joint ventures among competitors. During that time, she served in a variety of positions, including Director of Policy Planning, Deputy General Counsel for Policy Studies, senior attorney advisor to Chairman Robert Pitofsky, and attorney advisor to Commissioner Dennis Yao. In addition to several years in private practice before she joined the Commission, DeSanti recently served as Senior Counsel to the Antitrust Modernization Commission.

Jeanne Bumpus, who was re-appointed as Director of the Office of Congressional Relations, has served in that position since June 2006. She was a principal advisor to Senator John McCain and served as Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Bumpus began her work on Capitol Hill in the office of Washington State Senator Slade Gorton, where she served as Legislative Counsel. Earlier, she worked as an associate in the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine in Seattle, Washington.

Joni Lupovitz, who will serve as Chief of Staff to the Chairman, joined the FTC in 1999 as an attorney in the Bureau of Consumer Protection's Division of Enforcement and was promoted to Assistant Director for Enforcement the following year. Since 2005, she has served as an attorney advisor in the Office of Commissioner (now Chairman) Leibowitz, focusing on consumer protection matters. Before joining the FTC, Lupovitz was a partner with McDermott, Will & Emery, where she had a diverse civil litigation and administrative practice.

To learn more about our FTC regulatory practice, click here.

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