Shapps picks Cardell to be first female competition chief

Grant Shapps, the business secretary, has picked one of the competition regulator’s top executives to become its first permanent female boss.

Sky News has learnt that Sarah Cardell, the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) interim chief executive, will be appointed later on Monday to the post.

Her appointment will come nearly a year after Andrea Coscelli, her predecessor, announced that he was leaving the CMA.

Ms Cardell, a former partner at Slaughter & May, the magic circle law firm, and executive at Ofgem, the energy regulator, joined the CMA in 2013.

She has been the watchdog’s interim chief executive since July.

Her competitors for the role included Ali Nikpay, a partner at the American law firm Gibson Dunn, and Sheldon Mills, a senior executive at the Financial Conduct Authority.

Ms Cardell’s appointment will complete a new top team at the CMA, with Marcus Bokkerink recently having taken over as its chairman.

She will take on the permanent role at a crucial time for the CMA as it assumes a more aggressive role in holding companies to account during the cost-of-living crisis and absorbing additional responsibilities after Brexit.

The watchdog has adopted a tough approach to the growing economic might of technology behemoths, particularly the likes of Meta, Facebook’s parent company, and Google’s owner, Alphabet.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy declined to comment.

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