Obama to name Edith Ramirez as head of the FTC
Ramirez, 44, a Democrat who worked for Obama during the 2008 presidential race, was a lawyer specializing in business litigation and intellectual property in Los Angeles. She has been a commissioner since 2010.
Ramirez is to begin work as chairman on Monday, the FTC said in a statement.
She takes the FTC's helm as it considers several high-profile mergers, including the proposed Office Depot Inc deal to buy rival office supplier OfficeMax, Tesoro Corp's purchase of a BP refinery in gas-price sensitive California, and Tempur-Pedic's proposed purchase of mattress rival Sealy Corp.
The agency is also working on online privacy issues, which often pit companies against consumers.
The appointment of Ramirez, a Latina from Southern California who is fluent in Spanish, could calm some criticism of Obama, who was attacked after his first three cabinet appointments in his second term went to white men - John Kerry to head the State Department, Chuck Hagel for Defense and Jack Lew for Treasury.
The White House has said Obama intends to maintain diversity in his Cabinet in the second term.
The choice of Ramirez, whose positions have shown her to be a moderate, over fellow Democratic commissioner Julie Brill also indicates the White House wants a centrist FTC, antitrust experts said.
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