UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: New Deputy Chair of Competition Commission Announced

Press Release   •   Jan 28, 2010 11:08 GMT

Consumer minister Kevin Brennan today announced the appointment of Laura Carstensen as the new Deputy Chair to the Competition Commission.

Laura Carstensen has been a member of the Competition Commission since 2005 and has had a distinguished legal career as a partner in the law firm Slaughter and May, specialising in UK and EU competition law.

Since leaving practice in 2004, Laura has combined her role at the Competition Commission with a variety of commercial and public sector commitments.

Kevin Brennan said:

“I would like to welcome Laura Carstensen to her new post.

“This is an exciting and challenging period for the Commission. Fair competition is even more vital in these difficult economic times, and I am sure she will play a crucial role steering the Competition Commission through the challenging years ahead.”

Ms Carstensen said:

“The Competition Commission is there to secure competitive markets and thereby safeguard consumer welfare.  In a free-market liberal democracy this is a vitally important task, as much if not more so in an economic downturn as it is in more buoyant economic periods.  I am honoured to be appointed Deputy Chairman and extremely keen to get on with the job.”

Notes to editors

1.     The Competition Commission is an independent public body established by the Competition Act 1998.  It replaced the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on 1 April 1999.

2.     The Commission conducts in-depth inquiries into mergers, markets and the regulation of the major regulated industries.  Each inquiry is undertaken in response to a reference made to it by another competition authority, usually the Office of Fair Trading, or regulators under sector-specific legislative provisions relating to regulated industries. Under the Enterprise Act 2002, the Commission’s role was considerably strengthened and widened, especially by giving it a determinative role in respect of remedies to be applied. The Deputy Chair is also a working member of the Commission and sits on its Council, the strategic management board.

3.     Ms Carstensen’s appointment as Deputy Chair will be part-time (4 days per week) and will be from 1st February 2010 until 31st March 2013.

4.     From the time of her appointment, Ms Carstensen’s remuneration will be £102,640.

5.     All appointments are made on merit and political activity 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. Ms Carstensen has not undertaken any political activity within the last five years.  She is a member of the Co-operation and Competition Panel for NHS Funded Services (for which she is remunerated £750 per diem) and is a non-executive member of the Board of the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel (for which she receives no remuneration).

6.     All members of the Competition Commission are subject to the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975, which disqualifies holders of scheduled public offices from membership of the House of Commons.

7.   The appointment has been made following an open competition in accordance with the OCPA Code of Practice.

For more information, contact the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills press office on 0207 215 3496

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.

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