Big tech firms have attracted concerns around the world for their anti-competitive conduct. Their ability to stifle competition and innovation, and so maintain their monopoly over technology markets, has been met with increasing criticism in recent years. Across the world, regulators and policy makers have come up with proposals on how to establish a competitive, safe, and fair online environment that also safeguards users’ fundamental rights.
Announced earlier this year, the EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA) is legislation designed to make the digital economy open, fair, and contestable. Likewise, the UK’s new Digital Markets Unit (DMU) will look to hold Big Tech companies to account, with the powers to issue fines for not allowing fair competition. Both regulators will seek to curb the power of companies designated as ‘gatekeepers’, based on their market-share and profits. The legislation will prevent companies from engaging in uncompetitive practices, such as buying up fledging businesses, as opposed to breaking up dominant companies.
This in-person event will bring together industry figures, policy-experts, academics, and civil servants to discuss the different regulatory approaches the UK and EU are adopting, and how their respective ambitions compare. The panel will explore how the regulations will work in practice and what their impact will be on consumers, technology companies, and the wider digital economy. Will it be enough to reign in the technology giants? Are competition authorities and anti-trust regulators adequately prepared to enforce the new regulatory regimes alongside existing antitrust tools? Can the digital economy ever be made open and fair?
Tamzin Booth – Tamzin is a Partner in the Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) sector team at Brunswick Group, the world’s leading critical issues advisory firm. She joined Brunswick in 2022 after 21 years at The Economist, most recently as Technology and Business Editor, covering tech from a corporate point of view, and previously as global Business Editor of the newspaper in 2016-19. Prior to this, Tamzin was a Staff Writer for The Wall Street Journal and Institutional Investor magazine. Tamzin has been shortlisted for several journalism awards and was highly commended in the 2020 Wincott Awards for her coverage of global technology companies. She began her career as an Auditor for Coopers & Lybrand, before joining Salomon Brothers in Hong Kong as an Equity Research Associate. Tamzin received a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Oxford.
ON THE PANEL:
Olivier Guersent – Olivier is the current Director-General of the Directorate General for Competition. He began at the French Ministry of Economy and Finance in 1984, before joining the European Commission in 1992, initially with the “Merger Task Force” in the Directorate-General for Competition. Since, he has alternated between the private offices of a number of European Commissioners and DG Competition (successively Deputy Head of Unit in charge of cartels, Head of Unit in charge of policy and coordination of cases, Head of Unit in charge of merger control, Acting Director “Transport, postal and other services” and, from 2009, Director responsible for the fight against cartels). Having held the position of Deputy Director-General since July 2014, Olivier Guersent has been Director-General of the Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union from 1 September 2015 to 31 December 2019. Olivier is on the Board of Aremis, a non-profit that provides medical care in the home, primarily to cancer patients in the Brussels area. He is a regular lecturer to postgraduate university students.
Amelia Fletcher CBE – Amelia is a Professor of Competition Policy at Norwich Business School and Deputy Director at the Centre for Competition Policy. She is also a Non-Executive Director of the Competition and Markets Authority, a member of the Enforcement Decision Panel at Ofgem. She was recently a member of the HM Treasury-commissioned Digital Competition Expert Panel, which reported in March 2019. Her academic work focuses on competition policy, consumer policy and sector regulation, with a particular focus on behavioural economics and digital markets. Amelia has a DPhil and MPhil in economics from Nuffield College, Oxford.
Niall Mackenzie – Niall is currently Director, Consumers and Competition at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). A civil servant who has worked in seven government Departments over the past 25 years covering a wide range of policy areas, notably as the Director of Energy, Materials, and Agri-tech in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), Niall’s recent focus has been on carbon trading and market incentives for improving industrial and business energy efficiency. He holds a BA in Modern History from the University of Durham.