FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz steps down in wake of Google settlement

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz steps down in wake of Google settlement

After almost four years on the job, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz has announced he will resign in mid-February, The New York Times reports.

The move comes at an interesting time, as the commission recently wrapped up its antitrust probe of Google. In fact, Leibowitz cited the resolution of the case, as well as an investigation against Facebook that was settled in 2011, as playing a part in the timing of his resignation.

“I felt like this was a good time to leave because we got through a number of things that I wanted the commission to address,” he told the Times in an interview.

Leibowitz, who first joined the commission in 2004 and was appointed Chairman in March 2009, says he plans to work in the private sector and expects to deal with competition and privacy issues. The change is not unexpected as rumors of his departure had circulated for some time.

The FTC has come under fire for its handling of the Google settlement, with some competitors characterizing the terms as being too lenient. For his part, Leibowitz told the Times that he felt the commission “did [its] job” on the case.

In early January, Congress confirmed President Obama’s FTC nominations, adding Joshua Wright as a commissioner. Interestingly, Wright will have to opt out of Google-related FTC cases, as he had previously received funding from the search giant for his academic research.

Image via Flickr/ Isaac Wedin

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