FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz announced today that David Vladeck, the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, will leave the agency at the end of the year to return to Georgetown University Law Center.  Charles Harwood will serve as the Acting Director until a permanent Director is appointed.  Mr. Harwood is currently the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, where he has served since November 2009.  Prior to serving as Deputy Director, Mr. Harwood was the Director of the FTC’s Northwest Regional Office in Seattle for 20 years, working on both consumer protection and antitrust matters. 

Vladeck has been widely viewed as an aggressive enforcer of the FTC’s consumer protection rules and policies.  While we don’t think that his departure will have an immediate effect, it remains to be seen whether it will have any significant, long-term effect on the FTC’s consumer protection enforcement actions and priorities.  Be sure to check back here for updates on who is appointed to be the next Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection.