Trump nominates antitrust lawyer Joe Simons to head FTC

The White House formally announced on Thursday the president will nominate Washington antitrust lawyer Joseph Simons to the Federal Trade Commission, along with Rohit Chopra, a former official at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The president is also expected to nominate Noah Phillips, chief counsel for U.S. Senator John Cornyn, to fill an empty Republican seat, although that was not announced on Thursday.

For some time Trump has been expected to replace Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen as well as fill three empty commission seats, two of which are Republican, plus one Democrat or independent. The president has always been expected to name a Republican as the permanent chair and fill the empty commission seats.

Simon served as the director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition from 2001 to 2003. The FTC also filed a lawsuit in 2003 to stop Haagen-Dazs owner Nestle Holdings Inc from buying Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream Inc, which makes also superpremium ice cream. The FTC later settled both cases. Noah Phillips is now chief counsel for U.S. Senator and Texas Republican John Cornyn.

The FTC works with the Justice Department to enforce antitrust law and pursues companies accused of deceptive advertising.

Filling the Democrat seat, if approved, is Chopra, a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America and former assistant director at the US government's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. A graduate of Stanford Law School, Phillips worked with law firms Steptoe & Johnson LLP and Cravath, Swaine & Moore.