On June 28, 2012, Canada’s Commissioner of Competition, Melanie Aitken, announced her decision to leave her post, effective September 21, 2012.
Commissioner Aitken was appointed to a five-year term in August 2009, having replaced the previous Commissioner, Sheridan Scott, as Interim Commissioner just prior to the enactment of significant amendments to the Competition Act in March, 2009.
Ms. Aitken held the role of Assistant Deputy Commissioner in the Mergers Branch from 2005 to 2007, and was appointed head of the Mergers Branch at the end of that term. Prior to joining the Bureau, Ms. Aitken had been a commercial litigation partner with two Canadian law firms, with a secondment to the Federal Department of Justice as Senior Counsel from 2001 to 2003.
Announcement of the Commissioner’s departure follows closely on the June 20, 2012 appointment of litigator Kelley McKinnon as Senior Deputy Commissioner in charge of the Mergers Branch, replacing Paul Collins, head of Stikeman Elliott’s Competition and Foreign Investment Group, who had just finished a two-year executive interchange in that role. Mr. Collins oversaw several initiatives, including revisions to the Merger Enforcement Guidelines and updated mergers process guidance, while over-seeing a sharp increase in complex, strategic mergers during that time.
The Bureau has also announced the promotion of Associate Deputy Commissioner Ann Wallwork to a new Associate Deputy Commissioner position. Ms. Wallwork will remain Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Division “A” of the Mergers Branch, in addition to assuming responsibility for the management of the Bureau’s Toronto Mergers Office and serving as acting Senior Deputy Commissioner in the event of an absence on the part of Ms. McKinnon. Melissa Fisher and Anthony Durocher were confirmed as Assistant Deputy Commissioners of Divisions "B" and "C", respectively.
No announcements have been made with respect to a potential successor to Commissioner Aitken.