Unlike the CTP director, the role of FDA commissioner has been around for a while: Gottlieb is the 23rd individual to hold the title since Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley (pictured here) was appointed upon the agency’s founding in 1907.
The position is appointed by the president of the United States, and it must also be confirmed by the Senate. Because the FDA is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, the commissioner reports to the department's secretary.
The FDA commissioner is tasked with overseeing the numerous centers and employees of the FDA, working on everything from menu labeling to medical-device regulations. Past commissioners Robert Califf (2016-2017) and Margaret Hamburg (2009-2015) have let the CTP director set the tone for tobacco regulations—but it is well within the discretion of the FDA commissioner to take a more active role at the CTP or any FDA center.