Hong Kong competition authority operation head to depart in October

Breaking News 25 August

Hong Kong competition authority operation head to depart in October

The Executive Director (Operations) of Hong Kong’s Competition Commission, Jindrich Kloub, will depart from the agency after his contract ends in October this year, according to the authority’s spokesperson. 

“A global search for a replacement has commenced and the Commission is working with Mr. Kloub on the appropriate arrangements to ensure a smooth transition,” said the spokesperson. 

The authority is looking for candidates with at least 10 years of post-qualification experience and will accept applications till the end of August, a job post shows. 

Kloub joined the Commission in October 2017 from the European Commission where he was an official at the Directorate-General for Competition.

Kloub is very “rigid” and his approaches towards competition matters are highly EU-oriented, a competition practitioner said.

Several Hong Kong-based competition practitioners raised concerns about Kloub’s departure given his experience in competition enforcement. 

The Commission currently has four ranking executives – Chief Executive Officer Rasul Butt, Executive Director (Policy & Advocacy) Billy Woo, Executive Director (Legal Services) Mark Mills and Kloub. 

As the agency’s fourth chief, Butt has been a Commission executive since 2015. His forte is not in enforcement, a second competition practitioner said, noting that Butt is better known for his policymaking and advocacy skills. 

Woo has held a number of positions in the Hong Kong government prior to joining the Commission. He has little background in enforcement as public records show.

It is notable that Mills will be the only executive with enforcement background once Kloub leaves. He is a recent hire to the Commission from the UK where he served as the Deputy Legal Director at the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets. 

There are two mid-level officials currently with the agency that are skilled in competition law enforcement, but they do not necessarily meet the 10-year experience requirement and might not be ready to oversee agency-scale operations, the first practitioner speculated.

The Commission’s former chairperson previously flagged the importance of developing and grooming talent within the organization, as well as having a strong executive team to provide stability and continuity.