The Hong Kong Competition Commission (HKCC) announced on 19 June 2017 the appointment of Mr. Brent Snyder as its next Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for a term of three years commencing 4 September 2017, as Ms. Rose Webb’s term comes to an end on 2 September.

Mr. Snyder served in the Antitrust Division of the the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) from 2003 until June 2017, and was the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Enforcement in the Antitrust Division from 2013 until he assumed the position of Acting Assistant Attorney General in the early part of 2017. According to the HKCC’s announcement (Link), he headed the criminal enforcement function of the Antitrust Division, and oversaw enforcement, prosecutions, leniency and other policy work. During his tenure, he took part in some of the most important antitrust investigations and trials in the United States, including thin-film transistor liquid crystal display panels, coastal water freight and air transportation. Prior to joining the DOJ, Mr. Snyder worked in private practice.

Mr. Snyder can be expected to draw from his more than 14 years at the DOJ, which relies heavily on the leniency program for the prosecution of cartels and emphasises individual accountability in antitrust enforcement.

Mr. Snyder will be HKCC’s third CEO. Dr. Stanley Wong held the position since the establishment of the agency until 7 March 2016. Ms. Rose Webb, originally Senior Executive Director of the HKCC, was then appointed CEO effective from 7 March 2016 to 2 September 2017 to fill the vacancy left by Dr. Wong.

The HKCC has also been undergoing other movements at the senior executive level since late 2016, seeing an internal promotion and new recruits joining from another regulator in Hong Kong and a competition agency overseas:

  • Dr. Lilla Csorgo joined the HKCC as its Head of Economics & Policy in May 2017. She replaced Mr. Dennis Beling, HKCC’s former Chief Economist. Prior to joining, she was the Chief Economist of New Zealand’s Commerce Commission.
  • Mr. Steven Parker is expected to join the HKCC as its Executive Director (Legal Services) in July 2017. He is going to replace Mr. Philip Monaghan, who holds the position of Executive Director (General Counsel). Mr. Parker has been chief litigation counsel with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority since 2003.
  • Ms. Diana Pang, originally HKCC’s Senior Manager (Operations), was promoted to the position of Head of Investigations in late 2016, a few months before Executive Director (Operations) Tim Lear’s departure in March 2017. Prior to joining the HKCC, Ms. Pang was a chief investigator at the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (commonly known as the ICAC).

The HKCC continues to attract highly experienced senior experts, with the new leadership team combining impressive local and overseas experience in both antitrust and general enforcement. However, it remains to be seen whether these personnel changes will have an impact on the agency’s output in the short term and in particular whether it will meet its target of taking two to three cases to the Competition Tribunal each year.