FTC Chair Naming New Competition Bureau Chief

Ian Conner had been deputy director
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FTC Building-horse and man

Federal Trade Commission chairman Joe Simons has said he intends to name Ian Conner as the new head of the commission's Competition Bureau.

Conner is currently the deputy director of the bureau, a post he has held since September 2017, appointed by then chairman Maureen Ohlhausen as acting director. Conner is formerly a partner in the antitrust and competition group at Kirkland & Ellis.

Along with the Justice Department the bureau enforces antitrust laws, so it is one of the key players in the oversight of broadband following the FCC's reclassification of broadband as a Title I service under the argument that antitrust enforcers could oversee ISP conduct rather than via bright-line rules enforced by the FCC.

Related: FTC Prepares to Wade Into Digital Age Competition

Conner's resume also includes a trial attorney in the Transportation, Energy and Agriculture Section of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division. He was also a special assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia and taught a class on antitrust and merger review at the College of William & Mary.

Conner will be replacing Bureau of Competition Director Bruce Hoffman, who is exiting in November after more than two years in the post. Under Hoffman, the FTC challenged 42 mergers and participated in nine trials, including winning its monopolization case against Qualcomm over smart phone chips.

Hoffman also helped create the agency's Technology Task Force to monitor Big Tech and investigate potential anticompetitive conduct. The FTC has been under some pressure from Capitol Hill to figure out whether Big Tech was allowed to anticompetitively "buy up" to monopoly. 

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