October 13, 2021 marked the end of Isabelle de Silva’s five-year term as President of the FCA.
The non-renewal of her mandate came as a surprise to many.
In a speech she delivered on October 11, 2021, I. de Silva went back over the key highlights of her mandate, stressing that she had the opportunity of presiding over important decisions (e.g., Altice, TDF-Itas, Brenntag, or Google News Corp) and was able to actively participate in the shaping of the FCA’s notices and guidelines.
First, I. de Silva mentioned that her work aimed at developing expertise on novel and structural topics, highlighting the creation of the FCA’s Digital Economy Unit and the hiring of highly-skilled analysts, including data scientists, which led to the FCA conducting the first market study into online advertising. She pointed out that this deep-dive analysis in turn allowed the FCA to rapidly intervene in high-profile digital cases such as the Google News Corp case. Other market studies and cases related to the digital economy followed suit.
Second, I. de Silva stressed that she strove to improve the FCA’s responsiveness, in particular by making full use of interim measures. She concluded that competition law enforcers can no longer be criticized for “intervening too late and ineffectively”.
Third, I. de Silva stressed that under her presidency, the FCA managed to apply existing competition rules in a dynamic way, notably to tackle the practices of dominant companies in the digital economy, but also to take account of privacy and data protection concerns in the competition assessment, whilst still contributing to the development of the legislative framework at both the French and European levels. In particular, she noted that the FCA made significant contributions to the negotiations of the ECN+ Directive and participated in international cooperation, actively contributed to the debate on competition policy and digital issues, as well as on the renewed approach regarding the application of Article 22 EUMR. This led to the first “below the thresholds” merger being examined by the European Commission, after the FCA (among other national competition authorities) referred the case to the European Commission.
Finally, I. de Silva noted that the COVID-19 crisis reinforced her belief “that it is competition that gives the French economy its vital force”, and that, more than ever, the FCA is needed to tackle the challenges posed by the digital transformation of the economy. As regards the challenges laying ahead, I. de Silva mentioned, in particular, seeing through the negotiation of the Digital Markets Act, ensuring that competition law does not hinder sustainability efforts, and intensifying enforcement against anticompetitive practices in labour markets. Her final point was to stress that the FCA would continue to investigate the TF1/M6 contemplated merger in an objective, methodological, transparent and contradictory way, as it would for any case, hinting to the speculation that surrounded the announcement of her departure.
 FCA Decision 19-DCC-199 of October 28, 2019 reviewing the commitments made in relation to Decision 14-DCC-160 (which cleared the acquisition of sole control of SFR by Altice, subject to conditions) and the injunctions imposed in Decision 17-D-04 for failing to honor the commitments made in relation to the FCA’s conditional clearance decision.
 FCA Decision 20-D-01 of January 16, 2020 in relation to certain practices of TDF in the digital terrestrial television broadcasting sector, notably as regards TDF’s acquisition of competitor Itas, which did not constitute a notifiable concentration. Towercast complained to the FCA alleging that this acquisition aggravated TDF’s dominant position in the market; however the FCA considered that such a merger could not, in itself, constitute an abuse of a dominant position, as no conduct detachable from the merger itself has been demonstrated.
 FCA Decision 17-D-27 of December 21, 2017 in relation to certain practices of obstruction by Brenntag constituted by the provision of incomplete and imprecise information after the applicable deadline, as well as the refusal to provide certain material information, which resulted in a € 30 million fine.
 FCA Decision 21-D-11 of June 7, 2021 regarding practices implemented in the online advertising sector, resulting in a € 220 million fine imposed on Google for having granted preferential treatment to its proprietary technologies.
 Most notably, under her presidency, the FCA renewed its Settlement Procedure Notice (FCA, Communiqué relatif à la procédure de transaction, December 21, 2018, available at: https://www.autoritedelaconcurrence.fr/sites/default/files/cque_transaction_dec18_2.pdf), its Merger Control Guidelines (FCA, Lignes directrices relatives au contrôle des concentrations, July 23, 2020, available at: https://www.autoritedelaconcurrence.fr/sites/default/files/Lignes_directrices_ concentrations_2020.pdf), and most recently, its Fining Notice (FCA, Communiqué relatif à la méthode de détermination des sanctions pécuniaires, July 30, 2021, available at: https://www.autoritedelaconcurrence.fr/sites/default/files/Communique_sanction.pdf).
 FCA Opinion 18-A-03 of March 6, 2018 regarding data usage in the online advertising sector.
 See in particular, FCA Decision 20-MC-01 of April 9, 2020 on requests for interim measures by the Syndicat des éditeurs de la presse magazine, the Alliance de la presse d’information générale and others and Agence France-Presse, FCA Decision 21-D-07 of March 17, 2021 regarding a request for urgent interim measures presented by Interactive Advertising Bureau France, Mobile Marketing Association France, Union Des Entreprises de Conseil et Achat Media, and Syndicat des Régies Internet associations in the sector of mobile applications advertising on iOS, and FCA Decision 21-D-12 of June 11, 2021 regarding practices implemented by the Ligue de Football Professionnel in the sector of the sale of television broadcasting rights for sports competitions.
 See FCA Decision 19-D-26 of December 19, 2019 regarding practices implemented in the online search advertising sector, FCA Decision 21-D-07 of March 17, 2021 cited above, FCA Decision 20-D-04 of March 16, 2020 regarding practices implemented in the sector of distribution of Apple branded products.
 FCA Decision 21-D-07 of March 17, 2021 regarding a request for urgent interim measures presented by Interactive Advertising Bureau France, Mobile Marketing Association France, Union Des Entreprises de Conseil et Achat Media, and Syndicat des Régies Internet associations in the sector of mobile applications advertising on iOS.
 Directive (EU) 2019/1 of the European Parliament and of the Council to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market, December 11, 2018, OJ L11 (the “ECN+ Directive”), transposed into French law by Ordinance no. 2021-649 of May 26, 2021.
 FCA, Contribution to the debate on competition policy and digital challenges, available at: https://www.autoritedelaconcurrence.fr/sites/default/ files/2020-02/2020.02.28_contribution_adlc_enjeux_num.pdf.
 Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings, January 20, 2004 (the “EUMR”). Article 22 of the EUMR allows for one or more Member States to request the European Commission to examine, for those Member States, any concentration that does not have an EU dimension but affects trade between Member States and threatens to significantly affect competition within the territory of the Member State or States making the request, see also European Commission Guidance on the application of the referral mechanism set out in Article 22 of the Merger Regulation to certain categories of cases, C(2021) 1959 final, 26 March 2021, available at: https://ec.europa.eu/competition/consultations/2021_merger_control/guidance_article_22_ referrals.pdf.
 The acquisition of Grail by Illumina (M.10188), press release available at: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_4322.
 Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on contestable and fair markets in the digital sector, December 15, 2020 (the “Digital Markets Act”).
 Upon announcement of the termination of her mandate, there was some speculation in the press hinting that here departure was linked to her opposition to the merger. See e.g.: https://www.agefi.fr/regulation/actualites/quotidien/20211104/l-autorite-concurrence-devrait-conserver-331348