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Business News

Fingleton quits fair trading watchdog

John Fingleton, who fought for consumers against some of Britain's biggest corporate beasts, is stepping down as chief executive of the Office of Fair Trading as it prepares to merge with the Competition Commission.

Last night, Mr Fingleton criticised the Government for creating long-running uncertainty about the fate of his organisation. The Cabinet Office last year said the OFT and Competition Commission should merge, but the organisations are still awaiting news of their future.

He said: "Morale at the OFT has kept up reasonably high, but it is difficult when the Government announces your potential closure a year and a half ago and there is still no decision. We're expecting a decision quite soon, but I would have been far happier if the process had been quicker."

In his absence, the OFT's chairman Philip Collins will have to fight the organisation's corner.

Mr Fingleton handed in his six months' notice to end his seven-year tenure. He will now seek work in the private sector. Only last week he railed against banks' lack of progress in opening up competition.

His biggest scalps have included dairies, supermarkets, banks, tobacco companies, building firms and airports.