Federal Trade Commission Chairman William E. Kovacic announced today that Lydia B. Parnes, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, will leave the agency after 27 years to enter private law practice, and that Eileen Harrington, currently BCP Deputy Director, will serve as Acting Director.
“Since the early 1980s, no one has contributed more to the FTC’s success than Lydia,” Chairman Kovacic said. “She has played a crucial role in developing and implementing programs that have made the Commission second to none among the world’s consumer protection agencies. Under her graceful and intelligent guidance, the Bureau has built and maintained a culture of excellence, dedication, innovation, and intellectual rigor.”
Parnes, who joined the agency in 1981, will join Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in its Washington, DC office.
The Bureau of Consumer Protection enforces consumer protection laws and trade regulation rules, investigates business practices, sues law violators, develops rules to protect consumers, and provides consumer and business education. As Bureau Director, and as Deputy Director from 1992 until she became Director in 2004, Parnes helped lead many of the Bureau’s signature efforts, including the National Do Not Call Registry, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, an award-winning data security and privacy program, innovative consumer and business education, and the Consumer Sentinel, a database of consumer complaints available to more than 1,700 law enforcement organizations in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. She also helped guide an expansion of the Bureau’s financial practices and order enforcement programs, an expansion of litigation under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act, and integrated strategic planning.
Parnes joined the agency as an attorney advisor to Chairman James C. Miller III. She served as Associate Director of the Division of Marketing Practices from 1987 to 1992, and as Assistant Director of the Division of Policy and Evaluation from 1985 to 1987. Parnes is a graduate of the Washington College of Law at American University and received her undergraduate degree from American University.
Harrington has served as the Bureau’s Deputy Director since 2005. She joined the FTC in 1984 as a staff attorney in the Division of Credit Practices. Harrington became Assistant Director for Marketing Practices in 1987 and served as Associate Director for Marketing Practices from 1991 to 2005.