Jeff Schmidt, the top antitrust enforcer at the Federal Trade Commission, is preparing to leave the agency for a job at an international law firm in the next few months, Washington sources said.
Antitrust lawyers said Schmidt, a political appointee to the FTC, is expected to leave for Linklaters, a global firm founded in England.
Schmidt, however, said he has made no decision about his future.
The speculation about Schmidt's plans has been fueled by the news last week that his boss, FTC Chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras, will be leaving at the end of the month to take a job at the Cincinnati home office of personal-care products company Procter & Gamble Co.
Majoras brought Schmidt to the agency from a partnership at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman for his second tour of duty at the FTC. He had previously worked at the agency after law school in 1985, with former commissioner Terry Calvani.
Another FTC senior staffer has confirmed plans to leave the government. Deputy general counsel John Graubert is leaving the agency to join Covington & Burling as a partner in Washington.
At the FTC, Graubert took part in a range of antitrust cases, including mergers.
"John brings a sophisticated understanding of antitrust issues that balances his experiences in one of the lead enforcement agencies and in his earlier private practice that will be extremely valuable to our clients," said Theodore Voorhees, chair of Covington's antitrust and consumer law practice group.
"I look forward to joining this talented group and continuing to work on complex and interesting cases," Graubert said.
Covington's antitrust practice was home to Assistant Attorney General Tom Barnett before he went to the Department of Justice. Barnett is rumored to be likely to return to private practice.
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