Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced new persons who will join new Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney in leading DOJ's antitrust enforcement program here at the beginning of the Obama Administration. These are familiar names, the new appointees all having before served in government or been well known in the antitrust bar. Varney herself was an FTC Commissioner from 1994 to 1997.

Two new deputy assistant attorneys general will be responsible for civil antitrust enforcement. Molly S. Boast was Senior Deputy Director and Director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition from 1999 to 2001, where she focused on the energy and pharmaceuticals industries. She leaves private practice at Debevoise & Plimpton to join DOJ. William Cavanaugh Jr. is an antitrust litigator with the New York law firm of Patterson, Belknap Webb & Tyler. He is expected to supervise civil enforcement litigation at the Antitrust Division.

Philip J. Weiser will serve as the deputy for International, Policy and Appellate Matters. On leave from the University of Colorado law school. Weiser is well known for his work on competition policy in technology and telecommunications. He was Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General from 1996 to 1998 and served in 2008 as the lead agency reviewer of the FTC for the Presidential Transition Team.

Gene Kimmelman has taken a newly-created position, Chief Counsel for Competition Policy and Intergovernmental Relations. Kimmelman joins DOJ from the Consumers Union, where most recently he was Vice President for Federal and International Affairs, and during much of his career has worked for consumer advocacy groups. In the 1990s, he served as Chief Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee's Antitrust Subcommittee.

Carl Shapiro has begun his second tour Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Economic Analysis, having held position in the mid-1990s. On leave from the business school at the University of California at Berkeley, Shapiro is a well known for his economic work in industrial organization, competition policy, patents, network economics, and the economics of innovation and competitive strategy.

Sharis Arnold Pozen is the new chief of staff. She joins DOJ from private practice and served at the FTC in the 1990s as an attorney advisor to then-Commissioner Varney, as Assistant to the Director of the Bureau of Competition, and as a staff attorney.

Scott D. Hammond will remain the deputy for criminal enforcement, having since 2005 served in that role, traditionally a slot for a career DOJ lawyer. Hammond has continued DOJ's vigorous criminal prosecution program and in the last few months served as the Acting Assistant Attorney General.

Varney has criticized some of the antitrust prosecution decisions of the last eight years and, at her confirmation hearing, stated that she aims to reinvigorate DOJ merger and monopolization enforcement and to cooperate more closely with the FTC, which already has a more interventionist program. With Varney confirmed and her senior leadership team in place, we can expect that the new Administration now will begin to pursue its more aggressive antitrust agenda.

Read more on the recent appointments at the DOJ web site.