FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz announced on Thursday that he will resign, one month after the agency reached a settlement with Google after a 20-month investigation into the tech giant’s alleged anticompetitive behavior. The resignation had been expected by antitrust lawyers since last summer and will take effect in mid-February. Leibowitz said that he plans to move to the private sector and will likely focus on competition policy and privacy.
“I felt like this was a good time to leave because we got through a number of things that I wanted the commission to address,” Leibowitz told the New York Times.
The FTC decided not to take any action in connection with the allegation that Google had used its algorithms to unfairly favored its own products over potential competitors, a move many companies and observers saw as letting the company “walk away scot free.”
Under Leibowitz, who served as a commissioner before commencing his two terms as chairman, the FTC also worked to expand the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and brought action against Intel for unfair business practices in the microprocessor market.
The New York Times says that Leibowitz’s successor will likely come from within the ranks of the FTC, with Democratic commissioners Julie Brill and Edith Ramirez seen as likely contenders.