The chairman of Britain’s competition watchdog was effectively forced to step down three years early after falling out with its chief executive, raising questions about the public reasons cited for his premature departure.
Sky News has learnt that Lord Tyrie, who said on 18 June that he would relinquish his role at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in September, had become involved in a stand-off with Andrea Coscelli, the regulator’s boss.
Sources said that Mr Coscelli told Business Secretary Alok Sharma that some CMA directors – thought to include himself – had “lost confidence” in Lord Tyrie’s leadership of the organisation.
The chief executive is said to have indicated that he would resign if Lord Tyrie, a respected former chairman of the Commons Treasury Select Committee, did not stand down.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is responsible for overseeing the CMA.
The reasons for the deterioration in Lord Tyrie’s relationship with some CMA directors were unclear on Sunday, although one person close to the organisation said that at least one non-executive director supported the chairman continuing in his role.
Lord Tyrie’s departure came just two years into his five-year term, and dealt a blow to an organisation that has been trying to reposition itself as a champion of consumer interests.
In the statement announcing his resignation, the peer said he was stepping down because of the “inherent limits of my position”.
“I now want to make the case more forcefully for legislative and other reform – in parliament and beyond – than is possible…as CMA chairman,” he said.
News of the breakdown in relations between the CMA chairman and chief executive comes just days after awkward questions were raised about the quality of its scrutiny of the proposed acquisition of a 16% stake by Amazon in Deliveroo, the restaurant delivery app.
The CMA and BEIS declined to comment on Sunday, while Lord Tyrie did not respond to a request for comment.