Jessica Rich, director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, is exiting the agency after 26 years, acting chairman Maureen Ohlhausen said Tuesday.
“She is a pioneer in consumer protection who spearheaded major initiatives regarding consumers’ privacy, data security, and financial transactions. Many of the FTC’s programs bear her indelible mark.”
Rich was named bureau chief by chairwoman Edith Ramirez in 2013. Before that she had held a variety of FTC posts, including deputy director of the bureau, associate director of the Division of Financial Practices, and acting associate director and assistant director of the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection.
A spokesperson was unavailable for comment on who would succeed Rich atop the bureau.
Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy and one of the leading voices for strong consumer protections, was concerned by the exit.
"Rich’s departure raises serious concerns about the future of the FTC under the Trump administration. We fear that the agency will retreat from its central consumer-protection mission, by weakening the standards for regulatory safeguards, failing to address new cases brought to the agency, and ignoring the growing arsenal of disturbing Big Data practices that pose far-reaching threats to the public’s privacy, health, and security," he said.
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