Kwarteng picks ex-BCG partner Bokkerink as next CMA chair

Business

A former senior partner at one of the world’s biggest consulting firms has been picked as the next chair of Britain’s competition watchdog.

Sky News has learnt that Marcus Bokkerink, who retired from Boston Consulting Group in 2020, will be named on Tuesday as the government’s preferred choice to lead the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Mr Bokkerink’s appointment will end a search that has lasted the best part of two years, with Lord Tyrie, the former Treasury Select Committee chair, the most recent permanent incumbent in the post.

Lord Tyrie was forced out amid tensions with Andrea Coscelli, the CMA chief, who is himself due to step down in the coming months.

Since then, Jonathan Scott has held the CMA chairmanship on an interim basis for much of the intervening period.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, has been keen to resolve the issue of the CMA’s chairmanship as swiftly as possible, given the need to identify a new chief executive.

Mr Bokkerink has not previously been publicly linked to the chairmanship and as recently as this month, the former Phoenix Group chief executive Clive Bannister was reported to have been chosen for the role.

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The chair-designate has 30 years of experience as an adviser to companies, including on the challenges posed by digital transformation, and also chairs the development board of Pembroke College at Cambridge University.

His ratification as CMA chair will be subject to a pre-appointment hearing of MPs.

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The CMA is one of Britain’s most important economic regulators, having recently made headlines by intensifying pressure on America’s technology giants, including Meta, the owner of Facebook, and Apple.

This week, it ordered the supermarket chain Morrisons not to integrate the convenience group McColl’s after striking a deal to rescue it several weeks ago.

Previous extensions of Mr Scott’s term as interim chair have underlined the difficulty that ministers and senior civil servants have had in identifying candidates to run some of the UK’s most important watchdogs, amid signs of their increasingly politicised nature.

Lord Grade was recently confirmed as chair of Ofcom, the media regulator, after a hunt lasting about the same length as the CMA’s.

Ofwat, the water authority, also recently appointed a chair, while the Financial Conduct Authority is seeking a successor to Charles Randell.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been contacted for comment.

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