COMESA, East Africa, new regime

Chief enforcer departs CCC, Mwemba takes on role

February 17th, 2021: TODAY, the COMESA Competition Commission (“Commission”) released the following statement, wishing “to inform the general public that the tenure of office of Dr George Lipimile who was the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Commission for the past ten years, came to an end on 31st January 2021.

Dr Lipimile was appointed by the COMESA Council of Ministers as the first Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Commission in February 2011. He served in this capacity at the Commission for ten years during which time he played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Commission as the first fully operational regional competition authority in Africa and the second fully functional regional competition authority in the world after the European Commission. Dr Lipimile tirelessly worked towards the enforcement of the COMESA Competition Regulations and Rules. He dedicated his time at the Commission in strengthening the institution with but not limited to:

  • Growth in its staff compliment;
  • Creating sound legal framework;
  • Processes and Procedures for enforcement of the Regulations;
  • Advocacy and technical assistance to COMESA Member States; and
  • Setting up the necessary corporate governance systems.

Further, the Commission wishes to announce to the general public that Dr Willard Mwemba has been appointed as the Acting Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Commission from 1st February 2021 until such time the substantive Director of the Commission is recruited. The Commission wishes to congratulate Dr Mwemba on his appointment as the Acting Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Commission.

Incoming Mwemba & outgoing Lipimile

Andreas Stargard, a Primerio competition lawyer who knows both men from having notified transactions to the CCC as well as socially, says that “an era is now concluded — namely the ‘Genesis Era’ of the CCC, as George was its very first, and thus formative, leader. That said, I am deeply assured by the appointment of Dr. Mwemba to his post as acting Director, as he is of utmost competence and I have no doubt will guide the Commission in the right direction in this new ‘CCC 2.0 Era’ after Dr. Lipimile’s departure.”

BRICS, mergers, personnel, politics, South Africa

SA Commission appoints mergers head; claims roster of “core” positions now filled

New head of mergers fills final “core” position according to Bonakele; replaces Ramburuth-appointed predecessor

Source: LinkedIn

New head of mergers at SA Competition Commission (Source: LinkedIn)

Following the by now fairly predictable fault lines of the Ramburuth-vs.-[others] staffing game at the Competition Commission, the agency’s crucial Mergers & Acquisitions division now also has a new head.  As of March 1, Hardin Ratshisusu is filling the post of Divisional Manager, after his predecessor Ibrahim Bah‘s departure in December last year created a three-month hiatus.

Bah, having worked at the Irish antitrust regulator for a while*, had been with the South African authority on-and-off since 2008, but had been Divisional Manager only for less than a year, holding the post since January 2013.  His successor Ratshisusu is likewise a former M&A veteran of the agency, having begun his career at the Commission as early as 2004 and with the division since December 2007 as a Senior Merger Analyst.  He also has recent private-practice experience outside government, which we view as a welcome feature on his C.V., in addition to his historical M&A expertise.

Mr. Ratshisusu’s self-description on his LinkedIn profile (with 22 endorsements from others as to M&A) is as follows:

“In the formative years, I started off as an enumerator for SA’s 2001 Census and then a research assistant at the University of Venda, whilst doing my post-graduate studies. I have since worked in the regulatory environment having held various positions at the Competition Commission of South Africa including being Senior Merger Analyst, Acting Divisional Manager of the Mergers and Acquisitions Division and Technical Consultant/Adviser to the Deputy Commissioner. I also had a stint in the economic regulatory division of Neotel (Pty) Ltd. This has given me exposure to a number of industries, including, construction, telecommunications, broadcasting, mining, chemicals, retailing and property. I now have expertise, garnered at both operation and strategic levels, in competition and regulatory economics, strategy, and governance.”

Mr. Ratshisusu’s appointment comes at a time of staffing difficulties at the authority, including most recently the departure of a senior Deputy Commissioner.   In its official release, the Commission’s Acting Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele is quoted as emphasizing the agency’s focus on getting past its recent personnel woes:

“I am pleased that we have now completed the task of filling all vacancies for the heads of the Commission’s core divisions. This will allow us to focus on fulfilling our strategic priorities”

We take it that any remaining open seats on the Commission’s org chart are, by logical inference, to be deemed “non-core” to the functioning of the agency.

The Acting Commissioner: Focusing on

The Acting Commissioner: Focusing on “strategic priorities”, such as the healthcare inquiry and other enforcement

* Mr. Bah co-authored an amusingly-titled mergers paper while at the Irish Competition Authority: “The Curious Tale of Pigs, Papers and Peru: Media Mergers in Ireland“.  It should not come as a surprise that’s editors have a faible for anything that contains alliterations…