Less than six months after her appointment as Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, Sharis A. Pozen has announced her resignation, effective as of April 30, 2012. Late yesterday, the Justice Department issued a statement announcing the departure.
There was no word on who would replace Pozen. However, there is speculation in the media that Bill Baer, head of the antitrust group at the Washington, D.C. office of Arnold & Porter, LLP. might be on the short-list of candidates. Baer has held a number of high-level positions at the Federal Trade Commission, including director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition.
The current deputy assistant attorneys general at the Antitrust Division are: Joseph Wayland, Fiona Scott Morton, Scott Hammond, and Leslie Overton.
Pozen came to the Justice Department in February 2009. She served as chief of staff and counsel and as a key deputy to former Assistant Attorney General Christine A. Varney. Pozen was named acting antitrust chief upon Varney’s departure. Varney is now a partner in the antitrust group of the law firm of Cravath, Swain & Moore LLP.
Prior to coming to the Antitrust Division, Pozen was a partner in the Antitrust, Competition and Consumer Protection Group of Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells). She also worked for five years at the FTC as an attorney advisor, as assistant to the Bureau of Competition Director, and as a staff attorney.
Under Pozen’s leadership, the Antitrust Division challenged the now-abandoned merger of AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA Inc. During her tenure as antitrust chief, the Antitrust Division also successfully blocked the proposed acquisition by H&R Block Inc. of TaxACT, a digital do-it-yourself tax-preparation software provider, at the government’s request ((CCH) 2011-2 Trade Cases ¶77,678).
Outside of the merger area, criminal enforcement remained an important priority while Pozen headed the agency. Among the major accomplishments in the criminal area were the Justice Department’s first enforcement actions targeting price fixing and bid rigging in the automotive parts industry. As part of the investigation, Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd., a supplier of automotive wire harnesses and related products, has pleaded guilty and been fined $200 million fine for its involvement in the conspiracy. That investigation among many others is ongoing.