Monday, November 19, 2007

EC Competition Chief Is Among “50 Women to Watch”

This posting was written by John W. Arden.

Neelie Kroes, EC Commissioner for Competition, has been listed as number three of “The 50 Women to Watch” by the Wall Street Journal.

The European Union’s “Antitrust Chief” was cited for setting an aggressive course in competition enfocement, showing “a particular devotion to stamping out cartels—this year levying heavy fines on makers of beer, elevators, and zippers.” She was a key force behind an EU proposal to open up the region’s “monopoly-ridden energy markets,” according to today’s edition of the Journal.

Microsoft Decision

The September 17 decision of the EU Court of First Instance—holding Microsoft Corp. liable for abusing it dominant market position and imposing a € 497 million fine—“firmly established Mrs. Kroes as the most influential antitrust regulator in the world,” the article said.

The coming year may feature more “fireworks,” the Journal observed, with the Commission investigating Intel Corp., Qualcomm, Inc., and Rambus, Inc.

Sign of the Times

The inclusion of Mrs. Kroes—and the absence of FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras—may be an indication of the recent direction of antitrust enforcement. Besides the accomplishments of Mrs. Kroes, her inclusion in the list may have been prompted by the growing importance of international regulation and the activism of the EC Competition Commission relative to U.S. antitrust enforcers.

Mrs. Kroes is one of only two regulators featured in the list, the other being Sheila Bair, Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The remainder of the list is composed of corporate officers and directors.

The top spot is held by Angela Braly, President and CEO of WellPoint Inc., the nation’s largest health insurer. Among the other corporate leaders is our boss—Nancy McKinstry, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Wolters Kluwer NV. She checks in at number 41.

Text of the list appears here at the Wall Street Journal web site.

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