The chair of the UK’s competition watchdog was forced to step down three years before his term after a row with its chief executive.
Lord Andrew Tyrie, who announced on June 18 that he would be stepping down from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in September, three years earlier than planned, was apparently pushed out following a fallout with the regulator’s boss Andrea Coscelli, according to Sky News.
Coscelli is reported to have told business secretary Alok Sharma that the CMA board had “lost confidence” in Tyrie’s leadership and he threatened to resign as chief executive if the chair wouldn’t go.
Conservative peer Tyrie took then role at the CMA in 2018 for what was expected to be a five-year term.
In a statement announcing his resignation, Tyrie blamed the “inherent limits of my position” for the reason he was cutting his tenure short.
Under Tyrie’s guidance, the CMA has taken a hard line on many high-profile proposed retail mergers. The authority blocked the merger last year of Sainsbury’s and Asda over competition concerns.
This year, even in the height of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the CMA has been involved in a number of retail findings.
On May 6, the watchdog put the kibosh on the proposed acquisition of Footasylum by JD Sports, following a lengthy process. While JD Sports have since appealed the ruling this month, JD boss Peter Cowgill called the ruling “reckless”.
Controversially, earlier this month, the CMA waved through Amazon’s purchase of a 16% stake in food delivery app Deliveroo.
Having originally provisionally greenlit the tie-up in March due to the effect the pandemic had had on Deliveroo’s finances, the watchdog subsequently rubber-stamped the acquisition again, despite an uptick in the app’s performance.