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FTC chairman Simons to step down this month

FTC chairman Simons to step down this month
© Greg Nash

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joseph Simons said Tuesday he would be resigning from the government agency later this month.

Simons said his resignation, announced a day before President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors Biden celebrates vaccine approval but warns 'current improvement could reverse' MORE’s inauguration, will be effective Jan. 29. 

“It’s been a great honor to lead this incredible organization filled with so many talented people working on behalf of American consumers,” Simons said in a statement. “As technology and our economy continue to evolve through the digital age, the FTC’s staff work tirelessly so that consumers continue to benefit from a fair and competitive marketplace. It’s been a privilege to be part of that effort.”

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In his resignation announcement, Simons also said eight members of senior staff would be departing. 

Simons, a Republican, did not detail the reason for his departure, but the FTC chief typically steps down when a new administration begins. 

Simons was sworn in as chairman of the FTC in May 2018, in the middle of the FTC’s data privacy investigation into Facebook. The investigation ultimately led to a $5 billion fine for Facebook

The FTC last month, along with 46 attorneys general, filed a lawsuit against Facebook accusing the social media giant of anti-competitive acquisitions. Simons voted with the commission’s two Democrats to proceed with the lawsuit, while the other two GOP commissioners voted against it.

The FTC is also involved in an antitrust investigation of the e-commerce giant Amazon. 

Along with replacing Simons at the FTC, Biden will need to fill a spot on the five-member board that was held by Democratic commissioner Rohit ChopraRohit ChopraOn The Money: Democrats scramble to save minimum wage hike | Personal incomes rise, inflation stays low after stimulus burst Independent business groups push Biden against FTC, DOJ appointees with ties to Big Tech On The Money: GOP digs in on defending Trump tax cuts | Democrats bullish on raising minimum wage | Financial sector braces for Biden's consumer bureau pick MORE. Biden’s transition team on Sunday announced the president-elect is nominating Chopra to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).