Mr. Biden’s decision crowns an unusually fast ascent for Ms. Khan. She was born in London to Pakistani parents who immigrated to the United States at the age of 11. She first became known during her law degree at Yale. The paper caught the attention of policymakers, other lawyers and the press.
Quiet and generally averse to the limelight, she has played a pivotal behind-the-scenes role as the senior executive on the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee in its 16-month long investigation into competition between digital platforms. She also served as an advisor to FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra. Last year she joined the faculty at Columbia Law School.
Ms. Khan is replacing Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, a former Democratic Senate employee who was named vice chairman of the agency in January. Ms Slaughter’s office said she would stay with the agency as a commissioner.
“If she had decided to become a doctor, she would have become a star doctor. If she chose to go to Wall Street, she would be running a very powerful fund, ”said Barry Lynn, director of the Open Markets Institute, a think tank and former head of Ms. Khan. “I’m thrilled that she chose this path because it has the ability to transform the political economy of America.”
Her appointment has also been welcomed by many democratic lawmakers.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of a Senate antitrust subcommittee and a regular critic of the technology industry, said Khan’s “deep understanding of competition policy will be critical as we strengthen antitrust enforcement.”
Ms. Klobuchar noted Ms. Khan’s new role at an afternoon competition hearing before the White House became known.
“We need all hands on deck when we take on some of the largest monopolies in the world,” she said.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said, “With Chairman Khan at the helm, we have a great opportunity to make major structural change by reviving antitrust enforcement and fighting monopolies that threaten our economy, society and democracy.”