Jessica Rich Named Director of FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection | Adweek Jessica Rich Named Director of FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection | Adweek
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FTC's Privacy Guru Named Head of Bureau of Consumer Protection

Appointment signals privacy will continue to be a commission priority

Photo: Chip Somodevilla

Jessica Rich, a 20-year Federal Trade Commission career attorney and expert in privacy, data and identity protection, and new technologies was named the new director of the agency's bureau of consumer protection.

FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez announced Rich's appointment today along with six other senior staff appointments.

Since January 2012, Rich was associate director in charge of the division of financial practices. She also served as deputy director of the BCP under David Vladeck, who left his mark on the bureau with a series of high-profile deceptive advertising cases, extracting the largest monetary settlements in recent memory from advertisers such as Reebok and Skechers.

Advertisers don't expect anything different from Rich. "I wouldn't be surprised if she maintained some of the Vladeck spirit," said Amy Mudge, a partner with Venable. "I don't expect we'll see a significant change in priorities."

Rich's appointment signals the agency will likely be aggressive in shaping privacy policy and bringing privacy enforcement actions, a goal Ramirez articulated in her first public appearance in early March. 

In addition to working closely with Vladeck, Rich has an 11-year track record in the agency's division of privacy and identity protection. She drafted the first children's online privacy regulations and is considered the architect of the FTC's privacy program and worked on the FTC's behavioral advertising principles and report.

"She's very smart; she's very practical," said Lee Peeler, the CEO of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council.

"The best thing we can do is strengthen our self-regulatory efforts," added Dan Jaffe, evp of the Association of National Advertisers.

Ramirez also named leading merger attorney Deborah Feinstein as director of the bureau of competition. As partner and chair of the antitrust practice group at Arnold & Porter, Feinstein handled many high-profile transactions for General Electric, including the NBCUniversal joint venture and sale to Comcast.

The FTC's new general counsel is Jonathan Nuechterlein. He joins the FTC from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, where he was partner and chair of the communications, privacy, and Internet law practice group. He was also a former deputy general counsel for the Federal Communications Commission and an assistant to the solicitor general of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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