By John Voelcker. This article originally appeared on 24 August 2018.
Jonathan Kanter has become the new head of the US Federal Trade Commission.
Reuters first reported Kanter’s nomination and approval by the Senate this week, then confirmed in a message from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
I have had the pleasure of working with Kanter when he served on the industry group that facilitates the clean-air transitions occurring across the U.S. for light trucks, which had thousands of US members. He was both a mentor and, when needed, a friend.
It will be interesting to see whether Kanter creates a commission of former FTC directors and lawyers, or, the way the agency is now structured, one filled by technocrats, like commissioners as the commission majority.
In the first days of his tenure at the FTC, Kanter was present at an announcement that the European Union was going to issue a set of tough-as-nails regulation on internet privacy. He then promised to crack down on anti-competitive behavior in the service-provider business.
Kanter is a co-founder of Algorithmic Marketing Strategies (AMS), which bills itself as “an independent provider of marketing technologies and solutions for business and consumer satisfaction.”
Before forming AMS, Kanter was a serial entrepreneur and executive at companies such as Blue Nile, where he served as the chief financial officer, and VMWare, where he was chief information officer and chief information officer of the Americas.
After his various tenure at those companies, Kanter had success as an advisor and board member for Nuance Communications, one of the big acquisitions of 2016. He had been that company’s director of marketing from 2013 until January 2017, just before Nuance’s search for a chief executive began.
His arrival at Nuance’s board coincided with the announcement that the company’s top choice, Bob Hagerty, was ending his term early to work on new ventures.
Meanwhile, a competitor of Ari Emmanuel’s, former Blue Nile executive Levan Mohan, would go on to develop Algorithmic Marketing Strategies.
Moving from marketing to technology, Kanter took the CIO job at Nuance, and spent the past two years helping the company’s marketing and IT staff to become more integrated.
Levan Mohan explained to me that the case for Algorithmic Marketing Strategies is that the software it sells allows the marketer to immediately see who is receiving his or her marketing communications, and how his or her members are using the technology.
Mohan said it enables the marketer to adjust messages and in-page descriptions depending on what is happening in his or her marketer’s ecosystem.
Algorithmic Marketing Strategies has been helpful to a number of media companies and mobile app developers that are looking to better understand exactly how their users are interacting with their properties.
Now, I have only met Kanter in passing, but now that he is part of the team developing important strategies for policing unfair competition among the big tech companies, he will be worth keeping tabs on.