Republican FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson to step down on March 31

Signage is seen at the Federal Trade Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Signage is seen at the Federal Trade Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission's lone Republican commissioner, Christine Wilson, will step down from her role at the end of March, she said in a letter to President Joe Biden on Thursday, in which she criticized FTC Chair Lina Khan.

In addition, Holly Vedova, head of the agency's bureau of competition, said she would retire after decades at the agency but did not give a date for her departure, according to a source familiar with her decision.

Khan had named Vedova to run the competition bureau in September 2021 as part of her effort to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement.

Wilson has accused the FTC under the Biden administration of overstepping by being too aggressive in stopping mergers and banning most noncompete clauses. And she has been a sometimes scathing critic of Khan for her style of leadership.

"Under her (Khan's) leadership, knowledgeable career staff have been scorned and sidelined," she said in her letter to Biden.

Wilson's departure will not change the balance of power on the commission. It should have five members, but without Wilson, a Republican, it would have just Khan as chair, and commissioners Rebecca Slaughter and Alvaro Bedoya. All three are Democrats.

The FTC said it had no comment on Wilson's criticism of Khan in her resignation letter. When Wilson first said last month she would resign, Khan, Slaughter and Bedoya said in a brief statement that they wished Wilson well.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington and Diane Bartz; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Jonathan Oatis and Richard Chang

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Kanishka Singh is a breaking news reporter for Reuters in Washington DC, who primarily covers US politics and national affairs in his current role. His past breaking news coverage has spanned across a range of topics like the Black Lives Matter movement; the US elections; the 2021 Capitol riots and their follow up probes; the Brexit deal; US-China trade tensions; the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan; the COVID-19 pandemic; and a 2019 Supreme Court verdict on a religious dispute site in his native India.