The former chair of the UK’s competitors watchdog Andrew Tyrie abruptly resigned from the organisation after colleagues uneasy over his reformist agenda threatened a vote of no confidence if he didn’t step down, in accordance with individuals briefed on the matter.
The Conservative peer unexpectedly introduced his resignation on 18 June — three years earlier than he was resulting from depart — citing frustrations with the “inherent limits” of his function. At the time Lord Tyrie indicated he was transferring on to foyer extra freely for the consumer-orientated reforms he had referred to as for on the watchdog.
Lord Tyrie, identified for his caustic interrogation model as chair of the House of Commons Treasury choose committee, clashed with different CMA board members over his need to steer campaigns and implement modifications to the construction of the company.
“[Andrew] felt he was sold a job where he could be an advocate for the consumer and when he got in there he realised he was chairman of quite a technocratic body,” mentioned one particular person near the company.
The former chair, who earned a popularity as “a hard taskmaster”, in accordance with one former authorities adviser, provoked opposition over his need to reform the watchdog’s construction. Both he and the CMA declined to remark. The circumstances surrounding his departure have been first reported by Sky News.
The CMA depends on impartial panels for selections on its in-depth merger investigations, making certain a test on any potential stress from the highest of the company. Colleagues mentioned Lord Tyrie needed the CMA to shift to a “house view” — akin to the European Commission’s competitors directorate — with a strongly pro-competition bias, and felt the construction of the organisation didn’t allow this.
“He sees himself as a radical,” mentioned one competitors lawyer with information of the scenario. “There are some people who embraced that within the organisation . . . but he had unconventional tactics for dealing with companies.”
Lord Tyrie launched a extra politicised method to the CMA’s work. His plans to show it right into a consumer champion with beefed-up powers — elaborated in a letter to the federal government final yr — additionally proved controversial in some competitors circles. He additionally needed to take energy away from the courts by fining corporations and people instantly for shopper rights breaches. Those pleas have up to now fallen on deaf ears.
Lord Tyrie was identified at Westminster for having a dry, abrasive method. “He is quite annoying and self-obsessed,” mentioned one individual grilled by him on the Treasury choose committee after the monetary crash. “But he’s pro-competition, so in that respect he’s a loss.”
The CMA is due this week to report on potential hurt triggered by the dominance of tech corporations like Google and Facebook in the internet advertising sector — a problem Mr Tyrie had beforehand spoken out on.
In March Lord Tyrie mentioned the watchdog had not been tough enough on digital mergers and mentioned massive tech platforms may “destroy a small business with a change to an algorithm”.