Andrea Coscelli will step down as chief executive of the Competition and Markets Authority at the end of his current term in July 2022.
Dr Coscelli joined the CMA as an executive director when it was created in 2013 and he has held the CEO position since July 2016.
The competitions regulator blocked a merger between Crowdcube and Seedrs last year over concerns that the resulting company would control at least 90% of the equity crowdfunding market, potentially harming SME businesses.
Seedrs was subsequently snapped up by US-based Republic in a $100 million deal.
The CMA is also investigating NVIDIA’s $40 billion takeover of chipmaker ARM and before Christmas found that the ‘duopoly’ of Apple and Google is limiting competition and choice in the mobile market.
“Andrea has given outstanding leadership to the CMA during a period of unprecedented change for the UK competition and consumer protection regime,” said CMA chair Jonathan Scott.
“As an executive director, he was integral to the creation of the CMA in 2013. Subsequently, as chief executive, he has led the organisation through a period of transformation, as we took on substantial new responsibilities after the UK’s departure from the EU along with new functions including the Office for the Internal Market and the Digital Markets Unit.
“I know I speak for the board and for colleagues across the organisation when I say we are immensely grateful for Andrea’s contribution and leadership, domestically and internationally, and for the significant and lasting impact he has had on the organisation.”
The Digital Markets Unit, announced by the government last year, aims to ensure that Big Tech cannot exploit its position to crowd out competition and stifle innovation online.
Based within the CMA, the body – which has only launched in ‘shadow’ mode – will ultimately have powers to block deals. However it will not be able to levy fines until Parliament approves legislation governing its oversight power, with that legal framework planned for this year.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “I am extremely grateful to Andrea Coscelli for the leadership he has provided as chief executive of the CMA through the last six years.
“We will continue to work closely with the CMA to promote competition for the benefit of consumers and enable businesses to make the most of the many opportunities on the horizon.”
Dr Coscelli added: “By July I will have served for almost nine years as an executive director at the CMA, including six as chief executive. I feel now is the right time to confirm I will not be seeking another term.
“There is still a huge amount of work to do over the next six months and my focus will be on delivering the organisation’s objectives and enabling a smooth transition.
“I am grateful to everyone at the CMA for their dedication to consumers and for all the support they have shown me.”