Earlier this month, Lina Khan was appointed the new Federal Trade Commission Chair (FTC) chair. Khan is a renowned antitrust scholar and consumer advocate who brings extensive knowledge of the laws and regulations governing competition and consumer protection.
As Chair, Khan has made major staff appointments, including naming Rebecca Kelly Slaughter as the agency’s first Chief of Antitrust.
In this article, we will explore Khan’s leadership and her key staff appointments.
Background on Lina Khan
Lina Khan is a scholar and advocate who has become an influential voice on antitrust law in the United States. She was recently appointed Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on April 15th, 2021.
Some of Khan’s most prominent work has focused on challenging the notion that antitrust law should only consider harm to prices, when she argues that a prosecution should assess broader harms done by monopolies as well.
Khan is an Oxford-educated lawyer, having studied law from 2012–15 and further advanced her studies at Yale Law School from 2015-18. During her time at Yale Law School she wrote several groundbreaking papers including “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” which explored how Amazon’s business practices could be seen as both conferring benefits to consumers and having harmful effects to competition over time.
In addition to her practice of antitrust and corporate law with Zeughauser Group in Washington D.C., Ms. Khan is a Fellow at the Open Markets Institute (OMI). As a Fellow at OMI, Khan crafted policy advocacy letters focusing on issues such as net neutrality and monopolies in digital markets. In addition, she testified multiple times before Congress and filed comments with federal agencies such as the FTC. In 2017, in recognition of her leadership role in addressing issues related to antitrust matters impacting modern capitalism, she was named one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30- Law & Policy.”
New FTC Chair Lina Khan Appoints Antitrust Chief, Other Key Staffers
The appointment of Lina Khan as the new Chair of the Federal Trade Commission is a landmark moment in antitrust enforcement policy.
Khan, a leading legal scholar on antitrust issues, has been sworn in for her position and has already begun to assemble her team of key staffers who will be tasked with ensuring fair competition in the marketplace.
Her appointment strongly signals the FTC’s commitment to cracking down on anti-competitive practices.
Announcement of Lina Khan’s Appointment
On March 10, 2021, President Joe Biden announced the appointment of Lina Khan as Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). She succeeds Joe Simons who has served as Chair for three years.
Khan is an up-and-coming leader in the field of antitrust law. Academics and industry professionals have widely praised her scholarship on tech regulation and competition principles. As Associate Professor at Yale Law School, Director of Legal Policy at Google’s Jigsaw project, and Legal Fellow at the Open Markets Institute—she has developed a deep expertise in economic liberty, antitrust activity, and consumer privacy protections.
She also serves as a Senior Fellow to the Open Markets Institute, which focuses on promoting competition on digital marketplaces. In her post as FTC Commissioner—she will be charged with maintaining a competitive marketplace to ensure that those most vulnerable are not subject to anti-consumer practices while protecting small businesses from monopolisation by larger companies.
As Chair, Khan will be aided by Commissioners Noah Phillips and Rohit Chopra who are staunch consumer advocates. Khan’s appointment signals President Biden’s commitment to increasing consumer protections within the country’s economic system both domestically and internationally—through collaboration with regulatory agencies across government departments and ultimately leading the United States towards more equitable markets that guarantee fair prices for consumers and business owners alike.
Reactions to Lina Khan’s Appointment
The appointment of Lina Khan as the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by President Joe Biden has been met with both praise and criticism. Many public figures, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, have praised the decision to appoint Khan, citing her dedication to protecting consumers in her numerous previous roles working on antitrust cases and laws.
Consumer advocates also applauded the choice of Khan to lead the FTC, citing her extensive experience in fighting corporate monopolies and her team-based mindset. In addition, those who have worked with Khan describe an effective leader who understands how to foster collaboration between different agencies, and gets things done.
Criticisms of Khan’s appointment come primarily from those within the corporate world who do not support an increased focus on confronting anti-competitive practices among larger companies. These opponents feel that if tougher action is taken on monopoly power, businesses would be deterred from innovating to compete, leading to fewer product choices for consumers.
Ultimately, whether or not Kahn’s appointment proves successful remains to be seen. However, her agenda will likely cause significant shuffles in industries across many sectors as she ushers in a new era at the FTC that seeks stricter enforcement against companies engaging in anti-consumer behaviour.
Lina Khan’s Plans for the FTC
Lina Khan has been appointed the new Federal Trade Commission Chair (FTC) chair. She has made several key appointments in her new role and is now focusing on the commission’s agenda and plans. Her appointment as the new chair has been seen as a major step towards the FTC’s commitment to tackling anti-competitive practices and protecting consumers.
Let’s examine what Lina Khan plans to do in her new role.
Appointment of Antitrust Chief
On April 5, 2021, the Senate unanimously voted to confirm Lina Khan as chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Khan is seen as a formidable leader in antitrust and consumer protection, giving her appointment tremendous significance for American consumers and entities subject to FTC regulations.
Khan is expected to bring a unique perspective to her new role based on her prior academic and business experience. She has published extensively on antitrust issues and was an adviser at Amazon, before turning down a permanent role at the company. As a result of her background, she brings an advocacy approach that emphasises creative problem solving—and is unafraid to stand up for economic fairness in the face of industry giant resistance.
One of Itan’s primary focuses will be closely examining large tech firms such as Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon. Her appointment strengthens the future use of Section 2 enforcement actions against these companies if they violate anti-competitive policies or fail to abide by regulations protecting consumers’ rights and privacy. Additionally, she will prioritize combating anticompetitive practices within large pharmaceutical companies that stifle market competition through consolidations and pricing tactics that negatively affect patients’ access to healthcare services.
Appointment of Other Key Staffers
Upon being appointed Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by President Joe Biden, Lina Khan began filling key staff positions by bringing on Ryan Radia as Deputy Director. Radia had previously served at the FTC, the CCIA, Wayne State University Law School, and the Progress & Freedom Foundation.
Khan named Howard Shelanski Director of the Bureau of Economics and notable economists Calabresi and Foster to serve in other key positions. Shelanski had served under Barack Obama as Administrator of the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information Regulatory Affairs and most recently held a position at Berkeley Law School focused on antitrust studies.
Many staffing decisions remain for Khan if her plans for turning around the FTC are to be realised. A former staffer at Open Markets Institute has called Khan’s agenda “the boldest proposal I have seen from a soon-to-be regulator chief in two decades.” These appointments will surely provide both people who share her vision and additional insights from people with divergent views on regulating Big Tech companies. With her goals in view it will be interesting to see how closely aligned Khan’s team is when she wraps up her selection process.
Impact of Lina Khan’s Appointment
The appointment of Lina Khan as Chair of the Federal Trade Commission has been met with enthusiasm from those in the antitrust and consumer protection space.
As the head of the FTC, Khan has already signalled her intention to crack down on big tech monopolies, appointing a prominent antitrust director and other key staffers.
It remains to be seen what impact her appointment will have on the tech industry and the economy.
Impact on the FTC
Lina Khan’s appointment as chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is expected to have a major impact on the agency’s approach to antitrust issues. Khan, a well-known scholar in competition law, has long advocated for tougher enforcement of antitrust laws and increased scrutiny of emerging market leaders such as Google and Amazon. She has specifically criticised the FTC’s past approach to tech giants, arguing that it was too lenient and failed to adequately protect consumers from anti-competitive practices.
As FTC chair, Khan is likely to push for tougher measures against companies found in violation of antitrust law. This could take several forms, such as stricter penalties for those found in violation, restrictions on their activities or even force them to break up into smaller entities. At the same time, she is also likely to focus on enhancing consumer protections by implementing procedures that would prevent companies from engaging in unfair business practices that are harmful to consumers.
Khan’s appointment will significantly affect how the FTC approaches competition policy — more focused scrutiny and more aggressive enforcement actions — as well as consumer protection issues. It remains to be seen how her advocacy will shape the future of antitrust regulation in America.
Impact on Antitrust Law
The appointment of Lina Khan to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as its new Chair is seen as a major shift in US antitrust law. Khan is widely known for her 2017 paper advocating a more aggressive approach to antitrust, one that views Amazon and other giant tech companies not just as traditional economic entities but also considers their effect on society and culture.
Khan’s appointment could see a marked shift away from current approaches to antitrust policy, where competition is primarily judged solely on consumer welfare – whether they are paying lower prices or getting more choice – rather than the broader implications of a firm’s market dominance. This could lead to greater scrutiny of large firms, as Khan has argued for broader measures including greater emphasis on data privacy and consumer protection, rigorous enforcement to restore competition, tougher sanctions for companies that violated laws and more openness about the functioning of tech markets.
It remains too early to tell whether the FTC will fully embed her more expansive approach. Still, this appointment will bring fresh impetus in how regulators view tech companies from an antitrust perspective – not least given her legal background in privacy and innovation law. Moreover, it signals at least some willingness from the FTC to challenge prevailing assumptions about what constitutes fair competition in light of concentrated corporate power.