On September 26, 2018, Christine S. Wilson was sworn in as a Commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission into the seat previously held by Maureen Ohlhausen. Commissioner Wilson most recently held a senior legal role at Delta Airlines, previously was an antitrust partner at two large law firms, and during the George W. Bush Administration served as Chief of Staff to FTC Chairman Timothy Muris.
With the addition of Commissioner Wilson, the FTC now has a full slate of five commissioners at the helm, all of whom joined the agency within the last six months. It is still early days at the FTC under the leadership of Chairman Joe Simons but there are already signs that change is afoot. For example, the FTC has begun a broad review of whether it is using the full range of its remedial powers as effectively as possible, including whether there are new or infrequently applied remedies, such as monetary relief or notice to affected consumers in deceptive advertising cases. (See Concurring Statement of Commissioner Slaughter joined by Chairman Simons (Sept. 12, 2018); Statement of Commissioner Chopra (Sept. 12, 2018)). The FTC has initiated public hearings examining its approach to consumer protection and competition matters (see Announcement of FTC Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century (June 20, 2018)). And the Commission is redoubling its efforts to take economics into account in consumer protection matters, as reflected by the appointment of James Cooper in the new role of Deputy Director for Economic Analysis in the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
While the FTC is not known for dramatic shifts in approach, with the infusion of five new commissioners from varied backgrounds, this is likely only the start of further changes we will see at the agency.