David Vladeck, the hard-charging director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, is officially leaving on Dec. 31 to return to his faculty position at Georgetown University Law Center.
The news comes as no surprise as it's been widely known for months that Vladeck would have to relinquish his FTC post due to his leave arrangement with Georgetown.
Charles Harwood, who has been with Vladeck for the past three years as deputy director, will serve as acting director of the BCP.
Vladeck leaves an indelible mark on the FTC. Since he joined the agency in 2009, he brought more than 100 cases against consumer scams. He helped the FTC develop a comprehensive framework for consumer privacy protection, including landmark enforcement actions against Google and Facebook. The FTC also took a harder line with national advertisers, bringing deceptive advertising cases against national advertisers with the agency's largest monetary settlements in recent memory, including $25 million from Reebok and $40 million from Skechers.
Harwood is likely to continue Vladeck's legacy. "I don't expect we'll see a major shift in priorities," said Amy Mudge, a partner with Venable. "This is a strong signal from [FTC chairman] Jon Leibowitz that he wants things to continue down the same path."
Prior to working with Vladeck, Harwood spent 20 years as director of the FTC's northwest regional office in Seattle. Before joining the FTC, he served six years as counsel to the Senate Commerce Committee.
Vladeck will stay on as a consultant to the FTC. "I intend to continue my service to the agency," he said in a recent FTC webcast.
Leibowitz also announced that Eileen Harrington, the FTC's executive director, would retire at the end of the year. Pat Bak, who is the current deputy executive director, will serve as acting executive director.