We are deeply saddened by the death of former FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky. Bob was a towering figure in the modern history of the Commission, whose leadership and commitment helped transform the agency. On behalf of the entire FTC community, I want to express our condolences and convey our gratitude for his many contributions.
Bob first served the Commission as Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection from 1970 to 1973. He then served as an FTC Commissioner from 1978 until 1981. He was appointed Chairman of the FTC by President Clinton on April 11, 1995 and served in that role until May 31, 2001.
During his tenure as FTC Chairman, Bob moved the Commission toward an aggressive enforcement-based approach. On the competition side, he was a proponent of a consumer welfare standard grounded in sound economic principles. On the consumer protection side, under his leadership, the agency first began applying traditional principles to the emerging problems of fraud and deception on the Internet, and also positioned the Commission to take on growing concerns about privacy.
Among his many notable accomplishments as Chairman, Bob convened a broad-ranging set of public hearings to address rapid changes in the economy driven by digital technology and globalization. These hearings brought together leaders in business, economics, law, and other disciplines to discuss tough, emerging problems related to the changing economy. The hearings produced two groundbreaking reports that helped shape the future of FTC competition and consumer protection enforcement and policy. As I have mentioned many times in recent months, the Pitofsky hearings inspired me to launch a new set of hearings as my first major policy initiative; in shaping the current project, we have repeatedly drawn on examples from Bob’s highly regarded hearings.
Bob’s legacy thus continues to inspire us. We will continue to look to Bob’s example of brilliance, leadership, integrity and devotion to the American consumer as we move forward.
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