Tyria was ousted in a coup in the CMA conference hall

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Former chairman of the United Kingdom’s competition watchdog Andrew Tyrie suddenly quit the organization after colleagues worried about his reform agenda threatened a vote of no confidence if he did not withdraw , according to people informed about it.

The conservative peer unexpectedly announced his resignation on June 18 – three years before his departure – citing frustration at the “inherent limits” of his role. At the time, Lord Tyrie said he was going to push more and more for the consumer-oriented reforms he had asked the watchdog.

Lord Tyrie, known for his caustic interrogation style as chairman of the House of Commons Special Committee on the Treasury, ran into other members of the CMA board of directors over his desire to lead campaigns and implement changes to the agency structure.

” [Andrew] felt that he had been sold a job where he could be a consumer advocate and when he arrived, he realized that he was president of a fairly technocratic organization, “said a person close to the agency.

The former president, who has earned a reputation as a “difficult builder,” according to a former government adviser, has aroused opposition to his desire to reform the watchdog structure. He and the CMA declined to comment. The circumstances surrounding his departure were first reported by Sky News.

The CMA relies on independent panels to make decisions on its in-depth merger investigations, thereby ensuring control of any potential pressure from the top of the agency. Colleagues have said that Lord Tyrie wanted the CMA to adopt a ‘house vision’ – similar to the European Commission’s competition directorate – with a bias strongly in favor of competition, and believed that the structure of the organization did not allow it.

“He considers himself a radical,” said a competition lawyer who knew the situation. “There are people who have adopted this within the organization. . . but he had unconventional tactics for dealing with business. “

Lord Tyrie presented a more politicized approach to the work of the CMA. His plans to make him a consumer champion with enhanced powers – developed in a letter to the government last year – have also been the subject of controversy in some competition circles. He also wanted to remove power from the courts by imposing fines on businesses and individuals directly for violating consumer rights. So far, these calls have fallen on deaf ears.

Lord Tyrie was known in Westminster for his dry and abrasive manner. “He is pretty boring and obsessed with himself,” said a person toasted by him to the select committee of the Treasury after the financial crash. “But he’s pro-competitive, so in that regard, it’s a loss. ”

The CMA is due to publish a report this week on the potential damage caused by the dominance of tech companies like Google and Facebook in the online advertising industry – an issue that Tyrie had previously discussed.

Lord Tyrie said in March that the watchdog hadn’t been tough enough with digital mergers and that big tech platforms could “destroy a small business by changing the algorithm.”

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