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FTC Announces New Consumer Chief

ftc_logoThe Federal Trade Commission recently announced some management changes.

David C. Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, is leaving the agency on Dec 31 to return to a faculty position at Georgetown University Law Center. Charles A. Harwood, who has been a deputy director in the Bureau for the past three years, will serve as acting director.

Since Vladeck joined the agency as Bureau Director in 2009, one of the Bureau's top priorities has been to stop fraud targeting financially distressed consumers. The agency has brought more than 100 cases against scammers trying to take consumers' last dollar with false promises of mortgage assistance, debt relief, jobs or other money-making opportunities, government grants, and health insurance.

Vladeck also created the Mobile Technology Unit to coordinate the agency's mobile enforcement actions and policy work and established an undercover Mobile Technology Lab to investigate and capture evidence.
In addition, during Vladeck's tenure, the agency developed a comprehensive framework for privacy protection and brought a number of landmark enforcement actions to protect consumer privacy, including cases against Google and Facebook. The agency also took action against several national advertisers for allegedly making overhyped claims and obtained settlements providing refunds to consumers who purchased the products.

Vladeck was also a key force in helping to forge partnerships with legal services providers and other community organizations to reach traditionally under-served consumers, and in the development of basic, easy-to-read educational materials for consumers.

Harwood has served as a deputy director in the Bureau since November 2009. Harwood joined the FTC in 1989 after six years as a counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, including one year as the Packwood Law Fellow. Harwood is also a member of the U.S. Department of Interior's Indian Arts and Crafts Board.