President Joe Biden named Pakistani-American Lina Khan as the new chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), giving the 32-year-old a chance to take up the powerful role in the agency protecting consumers from business malpractices and companies from unfair competition.
The unexpected move by President Biden came hours after the Senate confirmed Khan for a seat on the FTC by a vote of 69-28 on June 15, 2021.
Khan will replace acting Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, who has been a commissioner for three years in the agency. Khan's appointment as the chairwoman marks her rapid rise to the top of US antitrust enforcement.
"It is a tremendous honor to have been selected by President Biden to lead the Federal Trade Commission," said Khan, speaking of her new position. "I look forward to working with my colleagues to protect the public from corporate abuse. I'm very grateful to Acting Chairwoman Slaughter for her outstanding stewardship of the Commission," Khan further said according to a release.
Who is Lina Khan?
Lina Khan, 32, was born in the UK and moved to the United States as a child. She is a graduate of Williams College and studied law at Yale University. Khan was working as an Associate Professor of Law at Columbia Law School prior to becoming the chairwoman of FTC.
Khan had previously served as counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, legal adviser to FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra, and legal director at the Open Markets Institute.
She is in charge of one of two agencies responsible for policing competition in the U.S. The other is the Justice Department's antitrust division.
Khan's scholarship on antitrust and competition policy has been published in the Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review, and Yale Law Journal.
Earlier this year, Khan revealed to BBC how she started getting interested in competition law as a policy researcher after her graduation.
"What became clear is there had been a systemic trend across the US... markets had come to be controlled by a very small number of companies," Khan said, according to reports.