There will be some leadership changes within the antitrust agencies in the near future. The Antitrust Division has been led by acting assistant attorneys general for some time. The most recent acting head of the division, Joseph Wayland, recently departed, and the DOJ has not yet announced who will take his place. Additionally, President Obama has nominated William Baer to serve as Assistant Attorney General. That nomination awaits Senate confirmation. Baer was director of the FTC Bureau of Competition during Bill Clinton's administration, a period noted for aggressive enforcement at the FTC.
At the FTC, Chairman Leibowitz, a Democrat, has served as an FTC commissioner for eight years and as chairman for almost four years. As rumors circulate regarding Chairman Leibowitz's departure, President Obama must consider potential replacements. The president could appoint a new chairman from the sitting Democratic commissioners, or he could choose someone from outside the agency. President Obama has also recently nominated Joshua Wright, a Republican, to replace outgoing Republican commissioner J. Thomas Rosch, whose term expired in September. Commissioner Rosch has indicated that he will stay in his position until the Senate confirms Wright. Although no more than three of the FTC's five commissioners, who each serve seven-year terms, can be of the same political party, President Obama's reelection ensures a Democratic majority at the FTC. Three of the five FTC commissioners will continue to be Democrats, and the chairman, who appoints the directors of the Bureaus of Competition and Consumer Protection, will be a Democrat as well. Accordingly, there is little reason to expect a new direction in antitrust enforcement priorities.