Jon Leibowitz announced his departure from the FTC today, the Blog of the Legal Times reports:
After a four-year tenure marked by an increased focus on privacy and aggressive consumer protection, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz announced today that he is stepping down on February 15.
"I don't have any regrets," Leibowitz said in a conference call with reporters. "I like to think we have made America in a small way a better place to live and helped ensure an even playing field for businesses."
Leibowitz's departure is a big loss for the agency and American consumers, particularly because it comes so close on the heels of David Vladeck's departure from his post as head of consumer protection. It also leaves the FTC with 2 Demoratic and 2 Republican commissioners, raising the very real prospect of 2-2 splits that could leave the agency deadlocked on important issues until a successor is confirmed by the Senate.
The Legal Times names current comissioners Julie Brill and Edith Ramirez as leading contenders:
Brill, formerly the senior deputy attorney general and chief of consumer protection and antitrust for the North Carolina Department of Justice, is known of her work in privacy protection and has a reputation for favoring vigorous enforcement.
Ramirez, a former partner with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, is regarded as brilliant and somewhat reserved. She went to law school at Harvard with President Barack Obama and worked with him on the law review (fellow law review member Julius Genachowski has served as head of the Federal Communications Commission since June 2009).
Many in the consumer advocacy community know and trust Julie Brill and favor her for the job.