US: Ex-FTC Chairman and Georgetown Dean Pitofsky passes away

Robert Pitofsky, who served as dean of Georgetown Law from 1983 to 1989 and as the 54th chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) from 1995 to 2001, died October 6. He was 88.

Since joining the Georgetown Law faculty in 1973, Pitofsky taught thousands of students in antitrust as well as constitutional law, consumer protection, and federal courts. “During his long and productive career, Robert Pitofsky has been an antitrust master,” Professor Steven Salop once wrote.

Pitofsky began his teaching career at New York University Law School in 1964, teaching antitrust and federal courts. In 1970, he was appointed director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection by Federal Commission Chairman Miles Kirkpatrick, having served on the Kirkpatrick Commission study of the FTC. After serving as director of the Bureau for three years, he joined the Georgetown Law faculty until the government called again. Pitofsky served as FTC commissioner from 1978 to 1981.

In 1995, Pitofsky became chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, convening hearings designed to update antitrust for the 21st century. The hearings led to revisions in the merger guidelines and new guidelines for joint ventures. During the Pitofsky years, the FTC also brought and won path-breaking antitrust cases and began to police consumer deception and privacy on the Internet.

“The way [Pitofsky] conducted the FTC…is an example of what [the agency] can do when it’s working at its absolute best…” Joseph Simons the current FTC chair and one of Pitofsky’s former students, said in his remarks on September 13. “Bob inspired a lot of people who have gone through their careers trying to live up to the high standards [he] set; I am one of those people.”
Full Content: Georgetown Law
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