Saturday 21 October 2017

Lord Currie to leave competition watchdog so successor can tackle Brexit

The Competition and Markets Authority chairman has told the Government to begin scouting out a replacement.

An aerial view of the City of London
An aerial view of the City of London

By Ben Woods, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

The chairman of Britain’s competition watchdog said he will step down to allow his successor to tackle Brexit.

Lord David Currie has told the Government to begin scouting out a replacement at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to ensure they have enough time to plan for Britain’s exit from the EU.

The date of his departure has not been confirmed.

The announcement comes during a busy time for the CMA, which is facing the prospect of investigating 21st Century Fox’s bid for broadcaster Sky on top of ongoing probes, such as the £3.7 billion merger between Tesco and food wholesaler Booker.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will appoint his successor.

Sir David, who joined the CMA as its first chairman in September 2012, said: “I have asked the Secretary of State to start the process to look for my successor and he has agreed. I will step down once that person is in place.

“Brexit is likely to generate a big increase in the CMA’s workload and its role in the world, and I owe it to my successor to allow them enough time to be involved in shaping its plans to respond to that challenge, and then take the organisation into the next phase of its development.

“For that reason, I have concluded that the process to find my successor should be started now, rather than closer to March 2019.”

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Sky

Under his tenure, Sir David oversaw a major shake-up when the Competition Commission merged with the Office of Fair Trading.

Sir David added: “I feel confident that now is a good time to pass over the reins.

“The CMA is firmly established and working effectively as a single competition body for the UK, helping ensure consumers and businesses get a better deal.

“It has a strong and effective chief executive in Andrea Coscelli, whose recent permanent appointment from within the organisation ensures continuity of leadership.”

The competition referee is currently investigating issues such as secondary ticketing, care homes and NHS drug prices.

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for BEIS, said: “I want to thank Lord Currie for his five years of dedicated service as the first chair of the Competition and Markets Authority, a period which saw him oversee the establishment of the CMA as an effective new single unitary authority.

“I wish him well in all his future endeavours.”

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