Press release

New competition authority completes leadership team

Business Secretary Vince Cable has today announced the Senior Executive Team for the new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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The five appointments announced today are:

  • Andrea Coscelli, Executive Director - Markets & Mergers
  • Sonya Branch, Executive Director - Enforcement
  • Erik Wilson, Executive Director - Corporate Services
  • Mike Walker, Chief Economic Adviser
  • Sarah Cardell, General Counsel

The appointment of these five individuals completes the CMA’s Senior Executive Team following the appointment of the CMA Chief Executive Alex Chisholm in January 2013. It also completes the CMA Board, following the appointments of David Currie as Chairman in September 2012, and Non-Executive Directors in July 2013. The formation of the Board and Senior Executive Team comes ahead of the shadow launch of the CMA on 1 October.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

The appointment of this executive team is another milestone in the creation of the new Competition and Markets Authority. I am sure that the knowledge, expertise, and experience they bring will help to build a high-quality competition authority.

CMA Chief Executive Alex Chisholm said:

I am delighted that we have been able to attract such a strong team to work with me in leading the CMA. Today’s appointments complete our Senior Executive Team and are a major step in creating the new organisation.

On 1 April 2014, the Competition Commission and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) will come together to form the CMA. The new authority will be the UK’s single leading body responsible for promoting competition for the benefit of consumers across the economy. It will provide essential services to business and consumers, operating with flexibility and with a more streamlined approach to decision making.

Notes to editors:

1.The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will be legally established on 1 October 2013 and become fully operational on 1 April 2014. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act which creates the CMA received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013. The new unified Authority will bring together the Competition Commission (CC) with the competition and certain consumer functions of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and will be responsible for advocating competition both at home and abroad. The CMA will bring about significant benefits to business and consumers, including greater coherence, flexibility, speed and transparency in the operation of the competition regime.

2.The government recognises and values the close relationship between competition problems and consumer activities. The CMA will therefore have the OFT and CC’s full competition toolkit and have the power to tackle practices and market conditions that make it difficult for consumers to exercise choice in an otherwise competitive market.

3.The appointments were made on merit in accordance with the requirements set down in the Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice. Political affiliation plays no part in the selection process, however, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public. None of the appointees have declared any political activity in the UK. The individuals have confirmed that they have no conflicts of interest which would inhibit their appointment.

4.Biographies of Executive Directors:

Executive Director, Markets & Mergers – Dr Andrea Coscelli is currently Director of Economic Analysis, Competition Group, Ofcom. Formerly a top level consultant with leading economic consultancies including CRA and NERA. Andrea received a PhD at Stanford for his academic work on industrial organisation and econometrics. He then spent more than 10 years in the private sector advising across a wide range of different markets and competition cases before moving to Ofcom in 2008.

Executive Director, Enforcement – Sonya Branch is currently Executive Director, Enforcement and Mergers, and member of the Board and Executive Committee, at the OFT. Sonya has led on the front-line delivery of the entire enforcement and mergers portfolio at the OFT, heading up investigations using it’s mergers, antitrust, cartels and consumer enforcement powers. She trained at Linklaters LLP and previously was a Partner in the Corporate department at the global law firm, Clifford Chance LLP. Sonya has been featured as one of the Global Competition Review’s leading women in Antitrust.

Executive Director, Corporate Services – Erik Wilson is currently Director of the Executive Office & Strategy Group at the Office of Fair Trading. During his career, he has worked in a number of corporate and support service leadership roles, within the OFT and across the Civil Service. He has considerable experience in policy development and driving organisational improvement and of working at Board level.

Chief Economic Adviser – Dr Mike Walker is currently Vice-President, European Competition Policy, CRA International. Prior to working for CRA, he was the Director of Competition Policy at London Economics, a senior regulatory economist with British Telecom, and an associate at Lexecon Ltd. He was awarded a Phd in industrial economics by Oxford University and holds academic positions at Kings College, London and the College of Europe in Bruges and is the co-author of The Economics of EU Competition Law.

General Counsel – Sarah Cardell is currently Legal Partner of the Markets Division at Ofgem. She has wide-ranging experience as a senior competition lawyer, both within Ofgem and prior to that as a Partner in the Competition Group at Slaughter and May, where she represented clients in numerous UK and EU merger cases, antitrust investigations and market enquiries. She has also previously worked on secondment at the OFT.

5.The other members of the CMA Board are: Lord (David) Currie, CMA Chair; Alex Chisholm, CMA Chief Executive and five Non-Executive Directors – Annetje Ottow, William (Bill) Kovacic, Philip Lowe, Carolyn Fairbairn and Alan Giles, plus the two Panel member Non-Executive Directors, Roger Witcomb and Jill May.

6.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

Published 11 September 2013