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Ministers to re-advertise CMA chair role in hunt for Tyrie successor

Ministers are going back to the drawing board in the hunt for a new chairman of Britain’s competition watchdog after failing to identify an appointable candidate in their initial search.

Sky News has learnt that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will re-advertise as soon as next week the vacancy at the top of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The new process will come almost a year after Lord Tyrie, the CMA’s last permanent chair, stepped down amid tensions with fellow board members.

Andrew Tyrie is chairman of the Treasury select committee
Image: Lord Tyrie, a former chairman of the Treasury select committee of MPs, left the CMA almost a year ago

He was replaced on an interim basis by Jonathan Scott, who will now remain place until at least October, according to insiders.

Mr Scott is widely regarded in Whitehall as a competent and effective chair, but is not thought to be interested in the job on a longer-term basis.

Among those who were in the frame for the post was Lord Marland, the former Conservative minister.

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He is said to have withdrawn from the process several weeks ago.

The eventual successor to Lord Tyrie will inherit a bulging in-tray amid a radical reshaping of many consumer-facing markets in the wake of the pandemic.

The CMA chief executive, Andrea Coscelli, has signalled a determination to take on big tech companies such as Facebook and Apple, while the regulator is also facing scrutiny over a number of contentious merger decisions.

A BEIS spokesperson said on Friday: “It is important that we attract a wide pool of candidates for the role of CMA chair and it is only right that we take the time to find the best person for the position.

“We will be re-launching the recruitment campaign in due course.”

Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, has made significant progress in filling board roles at bodies overseen by his department in recent months, including naming a crop of directors at BEIS, and appointing a new chief executive at Innovate UK.