BT and Microsoft counsel scoop CBI roles

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has named two prominent general counsel as the new chairman and deputy chairman of its competition panel.

BT Global Services’ general counsel Tim Cowen will head up the competition panel at the employers’ body. He will be deputised by Microsoft UK’s director of legal affairs, Chris Parker.

The appointments follow the departure of former chairman Rufus Ogilvie Smals, who has left the CBI’s panel to chair the competition committee at the business and industry advisory arm of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Ogilvie Smals is also the head of legal at engineering giant GKN.

The competition panel is one of eight committees at the CBI that formulates the group’s policies and responses.

Cowen, who joined BT as an antitrust lawyer in 1991 after spells at Lovells and Baker & McKenzie, also chairs the industry best-practice group The International Association of Contract and Commercial Managers.

Meanwhile, Parker is no stranger to competition issues. Microsoft’s record €497m (£338m) fine for abuse of dominant position was upheld last month by Europe’s Court of First Instance.