Published on .

Few potential nominees for chairman of the Federal Trade Commission would bring as much to the assignment as Robert Pitofsky.

A highly regarded antitrust lawyer, he also understands consumer protection and advertising regulation issues inside out.

He knows Washington, where he has taught and practiced law and served in the government, and Washington knows him.

And he knows the ad business and advertising far, far better than most FTC appointees ever do.

Mr. Pitofsky has served at FTC before, first from 1970 to 1972 as innovative head of the commission's bureau of consumer protection and then as a commissioner from 1978 to 1981.

A string of high-profile deceptive advertising cases against national marketers shook up the ad business in the early 1970s and showed he could be a tough cop. But policies he helped pioneer-like prior substantiation of ad claims-are accepted today by marketers as good business practice.

At 63, we doubt his fires have gone out. And FTC is certainly still a challenged agency. Today's FTC is smaller and leaner than in the 1970s. Funding for the commission is tight, and marketing is changing in ways hard to predict. FTC's job of promoting a marketplace that is fair and honest for all requires a leader that advertisers, consumerists and lawmakers can respect.

That's Robert Pitofsky.

Most Popular
In this article: