Chairman Simons Announces Departure of Economics Bureau Director Kobayashi, Appointment of Sweeting

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons announced that FTC Bureau of Economics Director Bruce H. Kobayashi is departing the agency to return to George Mason University. Chairman Simons has named University of Maryland Economics Professor Andrew Sweeting as Kobayashi’s successor.

“Bruce has been a valuable part of the FTC team, bringing rigorous economic reasoning and advice to consumer protection and competition matters that come before the Commission,” Chairman Simons said. “I want to thank Bruce for his hard work and dedicated service to the FTC and American consumers.”

The Director of the Bureau of Economics supervises economic analysis at the Commission and advises the agency on economic policy matters. Kobayashi came to the FTC in 2018 from George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School, where he taught law and served as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development.

Sweeting joined the University of Maryland faculty in 2013. His research has covered a range of topics including the effects of mergers on prices and product variety, the welfare effects of targeted advertising, and the effects of revenue management in secondary markets for event tickets. Prior to joining the University of Maryland, he served as an associate professor for economics at Duke University and assistant professor of economics at Northwestern University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Oxford. He earned his doctorate degree in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also served as an academic visitor at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division in 2017.

Michael G. Vita, Deputy Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Economics, will serve as Acting Director of the Bureau until Sweeting formally starts his new position in early January. Vita joined the FTC in 1984 as an economist and served as Deputy Assistant Director and Assistant Director of the Bureau of Economics before being named Deputy Director in 2014. He also served as Acting Director of the Bureau from 2017-18. He received his master’s and doctorate degrees in economics from the University of Wisconsin and his bachelor’s degree in economics from Pennsylvania State University.

The Commission vote to approve the appointment of Sweeting as Director of the Bureau of Economics was 5-0.

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