FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz Exiting

As expected, Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz is exiting the FTC after four years atop the agency. He will exit Feb. 15, an FTC spokesman confirmed, but announced no future plans.

"We extend our gratitude to chairman Leibowitz for his service to our nation and for his tireless dedication to the ideals of competition and consumer protection," said National Cable and Telecommunications Association president Michael Powell. "During his exemplary tenure at the Federal Trade Commission, Jon has demonstrated that much can be achieved through tough questions, fair hearing, and a consensus driven process. We wish him the very best in all his future endeavors."

Leibowitz backed the FCC's network neutrality rules, which NCTA did not oppose since the proposed alternative was Title II regs on Internet Access that the cable industry considered a nuclear option.

Leibowitz presided over a couple of investigations and eventual settlements with Google over privacy issues, and made revising child online protection enforcement one of his key goals. He also helmed new food industry marketing guidelines. Leibowitz emphasized "vigorous" self-regulation in the area of online privacy, and tended to give industry credit for efforts in that direction, but also frequently said they had not gone far enough.

Leibowitz has been a commissioner there since September 2004. Before that, he was a Hill staffer, including working for the late Senator Paul Simon. Leibowitz is also former vice president for congressional affairs at the Motion Picture Association of America.

Still no word on when, or whether, Leibowitz's friend and opposite number at the FCC, chairman Julius Genachowski, may exit. He, too, is in the fourth year of his chairmanship.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.