Beales to Leave FTC Consumer Protection Post

Parnes to Assume Acting Director Responsibilities

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Federal Trade Commission Chairman Timothy J. Muris today announced that J. Howard Beales, III, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, will be leaving the Commission on August 6 to return to academic life as Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Public Policy at George Washington University. Beales has been Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection since June 2001, when he was appointed by Muris. Lydia B. Parnes, Deputy Director of the Bureau, will be named Acting Director and will assume Beales’ duties following his departure.

“Howard has been an invaluable member of my senior management team and a trusted colleague,” Muris said. “Under Howard’s leadership, the Bureau of Consumer Protection aggressively attacked fraud and deception; strengthened consumer protections in critical areas such as privacy, telemarketing, and identity theft; and implemented innovative, award-winning consumer education programs. Consumers everywhere have benefitted from Howard’s exceptional tenure as Bureau Director.”

Beales’ leadership of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection yielded impressive law enforcement results, with the agency filing 258 federal district court cases and obtaining orders for nearly $1.3 billion in consumer redress, including the two largest consumer redress settlements in the Bureau’s history. Working closely with Chairman Muris, Beales played a lead role in reformulating and strengthening the agency’s privacy agenda. As part of the Commission’s reformulated privacy agenda, Beales was a prime mover in managing the creation and implementation of the National Do Not Call Registry, which received unprecedented Congressional and consumer support. He also was instrumental in leading the Commission’s systematic attack on spam, with the agency filing more than 60 cases and developing rules to implement the CAN-SPAM Act. He was a key force in helping the agency implement major new protections under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. Rules implementing this statute provide consumers with stronger tools to protect their credit histories and financial identities. Beales also directed an innovative effort to improve information security practices. Under Beales’ leadership, the Commission filed cases that challenged the security practices of major companies such as Microsoft and Eli Lilly, and implemented broad-based consumer and business education programs. A long-time student of the FTC, Beales also is noted for his innovative and aggressive use of the Commission’s unfairness authority to attack abusive Internet advertising practices.

Parnes joined the FTC in 1981. She was appointed Deputy Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection by Chairman Janet Steiger in 1992, and continued to serve in that capacity under Chairmen Robert Pitofsky and Muris. A respected consumer protection lawyer, Parnes has been active in all aspects of the Bureau’s law enforcement and consumer education programs, most recently managing implementation of the Hispanic consumer law enforcement initiative and the creation of the Bureau’s Criminal Liaison Unit to facilitate the criminal prosecution of fraud. Prior to becoming Deputy Director, Parnes served as an Attorney Advisor to Chairman James C. Miller, III, Assistant Director of the Division of Policy and Evaluation, and Associate Director of the Division of Marketing Practices. She received her J.D. degree from the Washington College of Law at American University.

Information about the Federal Trade Commission is available from the FTC’s Web site at www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

 

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