This posting was written by John W. Arden.
David C. Vladeck, Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, and Eileen Harrington, FTC Executive Director, will both leave the agency on December 31, 2012, according to a December 17 announcement by FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.
As reported previously, Vladeck—who has served as Bureau Director since 2009—will return to a faculty position at Georgetown University Law Center.
“David has been an extraordinarily effective advocate for American consumers,” said Leibowitz. “Under his leadership, the Bureau of Consumer Protection has worked tirelessly to respond to, and anticipate, the risks consumers face in a rapidly changing marketplace.”
Among his top priorities at the Commission has been stopping fraud targeting financially distressed consumers. During Vladeck’s tenure, the agency has brought more than 100 cases against scammers trying to take advantage of consumers’ last dollar with false promises of mortgage assistance, debt relief, jobs or other money-making opportunities, government grants, and health insurance. It has taken decisive actions against scams on the Internet, including stopping nearly $1 billion in online marketing fraud by shutting down “free trial” offer schemes.
Under Vladeck’s leadership, the agency developed a comprehensive framework for privacy protection and brought a number of landmark enforcement actions to protect consumer privacy, including cases against Google and Facebook.
Succeeding Vladeck as Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection is Charles A. Harwood, who has served as Deputy Director of the Bureau since 2009 and previously spent 20 years as Director of the FTC Northwest Regional Office in Seattle. In the latter position, he led law enforcement and consumer protection efforts involving a wide range of antitrust and consumer protection issues. In 2001, Harwood received the FTC Chairman’s Award for his service to the agency and the public. He joined the Commission in 1989, after six years as counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Harrington, who has served as the agency’s Executive Director, will retire at the end of the year. She has served in that capacity since November 2010, following 15 months as Chief Operating Officer at the U.S. Small Business Administration. She previously served at the FTC for 25 years, starting as a staff attorney and assuming a variety of senior management positions in the Bureau of Consumer Protection, including Deputy Director and Acting Director. Harrington received the Service to America Medal in 2004 for leading the team that created the National Do Not Call Registry.
“Eileen has made invaluable contributions to the FTC, not only in leading the Office of the Executive Director, but also during her previous service at the agency,” Leibowitz said. “We will miss her strong management skills, her enthusiasm, her creativity, and, of course, her drive.”
Pat Bak, the current Deputy Executive Director, will serve as Acting Executive Director. Bak has served in a number of positions at the agency, including Acting CIO, Associate Executive Director, and Counsel to the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection.