President Obama Appoints Ramirez as New Chair of Federal Trade Commission

March 4, 2013  |  President Barack Obama has appointed Edith Ramirez to serve as the newest Chair of the nearly 100-year old Federal Trade Commission.  The FTC protects consumers against harmful business practices and the market from anti-competitive business practices; the Commission shares responsibility for enforcement of antitrust laws with the Justice Department.

Ramirez, 44, was nominated by the President on Thursday, February 28. She succeeds Jon Leibowitz, who stepped down as Chairman on February 15th after serving nine years on the Commission. 

Since April 2010, Ramirez served as one of five FTC Commissioners.  As a seated Commissioner, she received Senate approval for a term extending through 2015; this meant no further action was needed by Congress before she steps into her role as Chair. 

The Senate will, however, need to approve another appointee to fill an open vacancy on the five-seat commission. The Commissioners are now evenly split between both parties.

Ramirez is a former appellate and antitrust lawyer from California whose client portfolio included Mattel, Walt Disney Co. and Northrop Grumman.  She worked alongside the President at the Harvard Law Review and later as a member of his election campaign team in California.

In the past, the new Chairwoman has spoken strongly in favor of self-regulation and voluntary codes of conduct among companies involved in international trade.

In a recent New York Times article, Ramirez described self-regulation as “an important tool for consumer protection that potentially can respond more quickly and efficiently than government regulation.”  … To be effective, however, self-regulatory bodies must “impose meaningful standards subject to strict enforcement,” she said. “Our support for self-regulation is not at any price.”

TIA will reach out to set up an early meeting with the newly appointed Chairwoman. We will continue to emphasize the industry’s support for advertising self-regulation, stressing the effectiveness of the current system, and the need for detailed implementation guidance regarding the new Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule.