Francine Lafontaine Named Director of FTC’s Bureau of Economics

Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez has appointed Francine Lafontaine as Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Economics, succeeding Martin Gaynor, who is returning to Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. The Director supervises economic analysis at the Commission and advises the agency on economic policy matters.

“We are very pleased that Francine Lafontaine will join the Federal Trade Commission as Director of the Bureau of Economics. I am confident that she will continue the tradition of excellence and provide valuable assistance to the Commission in fulfilling its competition and consumer protection mission,” Chairwoman Ramirez said. “I am grateful to Marty Gaynor for his outstanding work at the FTC. His expertise and his insight have helped further the Commission’s work on behalf of consumers.”

Lafontaine, who will join the agency in early November, is the William Davidson Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, and Professor of Economics, at the University of Michigan. She has served on the University of Michigan faculty for more than 20 years, after three years on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University. Lafontaine’s research interests are in the field of industrial organization, where she focuses on incentive contracting. She has written extensively on issues surrounding vertical integration decisions and contracts used in distribution, including franchise contracting and vertical restraints. She also studies entrepreneurship, industry dynamics and firm performance in retail and service industries.

Lafontaine earned a doctorate in Economics from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and a master’s degree in Applied Economics and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ecole des HEC, Université de Montréal, Canada. 

During the interim period between Professor Gaynor’s departure and Professor LaFontaine’s arrival, Michael Vita will serve as acting Director of the Bureau. Dr. Vita, who  received his doctorate in Economics from the University of Wisconsin, is the Bureau’s Deputy Director for Research & Management. A 30-year veteran of the FTC, Dr. Vita previously has served as an Assistant Director for Antitrust and as a Deputy Assistant Director for Economic Policy Analysis.

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