March 01, 2013

Law360 and FTC Watch quote Len Gordon on new FTC chair

3 min

Venable partner Len Gordon was quoted in a February 28, 2013 Law360 article and a March 1, 2013, FTC Watch article on President Obama's selection of Edith Ramirez to replace Jon Leibowitz as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Since her confirmation as a Democratic commissioner in 2010, Ramirez has been relatively reserved making it difficult to predict what issues the FTC will focus on during her tenure.

“She's a great choice…she approaches things in a very methodical, evidence-based, step-by-step approach and that will follow her to the commission,” Gordon told Law360 commenting on her appointment. “But she's very reserved, very cautious in what she says [and] I don't think she comes to the commission with as many preconceived views on hot issues she's really passionate about.”

Speaking about the main difference between Ramirez and her predecessor, Gordon told Law360, “The big unknown is, Jon Leibowitz went around saying he was willing to take aggressive positions and lose some cases to make a point or to test the law…She certainly hasn't said things like that as a commissioner, so whether she shares that view or is more cautious is something we'll have to see.” In an interview with FTC Watch, Gordon said, “"She is much more reserved" and "much quieter." Leibowitz "is loud and gregarious, and she is quiet and reserved. So personality-wise very, very different. She is very cautious in what she says and what she does. She doesn’t fly by the seat of her pants at all. She is very thorough. She grew up as a litigator—she is big on preparation. Very analytical; very methodical in her approach." Gordon added "Jon was more of a political animal—sort of deal-making and back-slapping and she comes at it much more from an analytical framework…I just think she will be much more of an incrementalist—evidence-based, fact-based [in her approach]."

Gordon also highlighted the differences between Ramirez and FTC Commissioner Julie Brill, who many consumer advocates hoped would be appointed Chair. Speaking with FTC Watch, he said "Julie obviously spent her entire life doing consumer protection and is very passionate about it and has very strong views and very aggressive views." Gordon noted "Commissioner Ramirez’s personal views aren’t as obvious. Obviously, she is a Democrat and she has generally sided with the chairman and Commissioner Brill on things, but her views aren’t as well-known or as obvious as Commissioner Brill’s might be." A key indicator of Ramirez’s views will be who she appoints to top leadership positions at the FTC. “Who she picks for those positions may give you some insight into how she stands on those issues,” Gordon told Law360. “If she picks someone who's a real privacy zealot, that's an indication of where she is.”