FTC Chairman Joseph Simons has announced that he is resigning from the FTC, effective January 29, 2021. Rebecca Slaughter, one of the two current Democratic FTC Commissioners, has been named Acting FTC Chair by President Biden. In addition to announcing his own departure, Mr. Simons announced the departure of a number of other senior FTC staff including Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Andrew Smith.
With Mr. Simons’ departure and President Biden’s expected appointment of a Democrat to fill Mr. Simons’ seat, control of the FTC will be in the hands of Democrats. In addition to Ms. Slaughter, the other current Democratic FTC Commissioner is Rohit Chopra, who President Biden has nominated to serve as CFPB Director. Since the Federal Vacancies Reform Act does not allow Mr. Chopra to serve as Acting CFPB Director while his nomination is pending, he is likely to remain at the FTC until his nomination is confirmed by the Senate. When that happens, President Biden can be expected to appoint another Democratic FTC Commissioner to replace Mr. Chopra.
Once Mr. Simons leaves the FTC, the remaining Republican FTC Commissioners will be Noah Phillips and Christine Wilson.