FTC Transition Adviser Named Acting Competition Chief

Stay current on the latest developments from agencies including the CFPB, Federal Reserve, FDIC, and OCC to advise clients on real-life regulatory situations.

By Alexei Alexis

Antitrust law veteran Abbott (“Tad”) Lipsky has been tapped to lead the Federal Trade Commission’s competition bureau on an acting basis, replacing Deborah Feinstein, who has stepped down, the agency said Feb. 16.

Lipsky, a conservative who worked on President Donald Trump’s FTC transition team, will bring to his new position more than 40 years of experience in antitrust law, both in government and private practice.

“He’s one of the elder statesmen of the bar, has great respect for use of economics in antitrust analysis, and fits right into the regulatory humility approach of FTC Acting Chair Maureen Ohlhausen,” Bilal Sayyed, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery, told Bloomberg BNA.

John Briggs, an antitrust partner at Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP, said Lipsky’s views will likely be “broadly consistent” with those of Ohlhausen.

Lipsky, whose appointment becomes effective March 6, is currently a partner at Latham & Watkins LLP. He was previously a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division during the Reagan administration.

Ohlhausen said in a statement that Lipsky will help the agency to promote competition and foster innovation, “based on sound free-market principles.” She said she was grateful for Feinstein’s “exceptional” service to the agency.

Under Feinstein’s leadership, the commission successfully challenged Staples Inc.’s bid to acquire Office Depot Inc., among other mergers.

Ohlhausen also announced the appointment of Alan Devlin as acting deputy director of the competition bureau. Devlin previously served as Ohlhausen’s attorney adviser.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexei Alexis in Washington at aalexis@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tiffany Friesen Milone at tmilone@bna.com

Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Request Antitrust on Bloomberg Law