OFT director Priddis quits for Freshfields

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has bolstered its London competition practice with the star hire of the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) senior director Simon Priddis.

Priddis will join Freshfields’ competition practice as a partner in January 2007.

His five-year tenure at the OFT included a term as head of the mergers branch where most notably he handled the takeover of WM Morrison by Safeway and the takeover of the London Stock Exchange.

In summer 2005 Priddis was promoted senior director with responsibility for enforcement. Most recently, he took over as senior director for markets and projects for matters relating to the services industry.

Prior to joining the OFT in 2002, Priddis was a senior associate at US firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

Priddis told The Lawyer: “I always saw myself going back to private practice and am looking forward to working with clients again. Freshfields had everything I was looking for – a strong competition practice and an international network.”

Managing partner for Freshfields’ competition practice Rod Carlton said: “We’re appointing Simon not just because he’s an ex-regulator but because he’s an outstanding lawyer.”

Freshfields’s competition practice has a good track record of successfully hiring former regulators. In 2003 the firm hired the OFT’s former director of enforcement Margaret Bloom as a senior consultant.

Meanwhile, in the US Freshfields has hired Terry Calvani who was formerly commissioner of the US Federal Trade Commission and MJ Moltenbrey from the Department of Justice where she has worked for 17 years in the antitrust division. Calvani and Moltenbrey joined as an of counsel and partner respectively.