Canada names John Pecman to head competition watchdog

Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:13pm EDT
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By Euan Rocha

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada on Wednesday named internal candidate John Pecman to head its Competition Bureau, nearly one year after he stepped in as interim head of the watchdog agency.

Pecman was named Commissioner of Competition for a five-year term.

The bureau is an independent law enforcement agency Set up to ensure fair competition in Canada. It is responsible for the enforcement of the Competition Act and investigates price fixing, bid-rigging and mergers, among other matters.

Last week, the bureau charged Nestle SA and Mars Inc with fixing chocolate prices in Canada.

It also won a dispute recently with Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, forcing the bank to hand over key documents in a global rate-rigging scandal. And after a probe by the regulator, Japanese auto parts maker Yazaki Corp was fined C$30 million ($29.5 million) earlier this year for bid-rigging.

In March, the bureau approved telecommunications company BCE Inc's C$3 billion takeover of Astral Media Inc after BCE agreed to divest more than a dozen channels and a few radio stations. The deal is still being reviewed by the country's telecoms watchdog.

Under Pecman's leadership, the Bureau recently unveiled a new initiative designed to encourage whistleblowers to come forward with information about potential violations of the Competition Act.

Subrata Bhattacharjee, co-chairman of the national trade and competition group at the Heenan Blaikie law firm in Toronto, views Pecman as a strong appointment.   Continued...