New ACCC chair named to replace Rod Sims

By Lois Maskiell | 15 Dec 2021 View comments

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has named competition and antitrust litigator Gina Cass-Gottlieb as the incoming chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Frydenberg announced on Tuesday that Cass-Gottlieb will replace the outgoing chair Rod Sims on March 21 next year, provided the states and territories approve the appointment.

The appointment will see Cass-Gottlieb become the first female chair of the competition and consumer regulator, taking over from Sims after his 10-year stint at the helm.

Under Sims’ direction, the ACCC has helped secure higher penalties for breaches of consumer laws, advocated for changes to the franchising code and strengthened laws about unfair contract terms, which have long been a contentious issue for small businesses.

Cass-Gottlieb, who has been a senior partner in Gilbert + Tobin’s competition and regulation practice for more than two decades, has contributed to the ACCC’s enforcement and regulatory investigations in the past.

In fact, Cass-Gottlieb was a lead partner in the ACCC’s investigation into criminal cartel conduct at banking giants ANZ, Deutsche and Citi.

Cass-Gottlieb has also been a board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Payment Systems Board for eight years.

Commenting on the appointment, Frydenberg said he had “written to states and territories seeking their support for the proposed appointment of Ms Cass‑Gottlieb”.

“I also thank Mr Rod Sims for his dedication and leadership over more than 10 years as Chairman of the ACCC,” Frydenberg said.

“Mr Sims has made an outstanding contribution to competition, consumer and infrastructure policy in his time at the ACCC, helping to advance world leading reforms including most recently with respect to the digital platforms,” he added.

This story originally appeared on SmartCompany, and has been republished with permission.