U.S. FTC names Rebecca Slaughter acting chair of the agency

FILE PHOTO: Federal Trade Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter testifies on the "Oversight of the Federal Trade Commission" before the U.S. Senate Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security Subcommittee in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday that Rebecca Kelly Slaughter had been designated the acting chair of the agency.

The outgoing chairman, Joseph Simons, said on Tuesday that he would resign effective Jan. 29, along with members of his senior staff.

The five-member FTC is also losing Commissioner Rohit Chopra, who has been nominated to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It is not immediately clear when he will leave the FTC.

With those departures, Slaughter will be working with two Republican commissioners, Noah Phillips and Christine Wilson.

The agency enforces antitrust law, along with the Justice Department, as well as laws against deceptive advertising. It is also involved in online privacy matters.

The agency filed a big antitrust lawsuit against Facebook Inc last month, which accused the social media giant of seeking to either buy or crush smaller competitors. The lawsuit is one of several filed by federal and state enforcers against Google or Facebook.

It has also negotiated a record-breaking $5 billion fine with Facebook in 2019 following allegations that it violated a 2012 consent decree by sharing users’ information with British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, whose clients included President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The agency also has an antitrust investigation underway of

“I am deeply honored and grateful to lead an agency that is critical to helping the U.S. economy get back on its feet and function more fairly for all Americans,” Slaughter said in a statement.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Marguerita Choy