In 2005 John was appointed Chief Executive of the UK Office of Fair Trading. In addition to overseeing merger control and consumer credit regulation, he led the enforcement of competition and competition law in a number of high-profile consumer facing sectors such as airlines, banking, and dairy. He started the processes that lead to the break-up of the British Airports Authority and the reform of Payment Protection Insurance, and pioneered the use of economics, including behavioural economics, in consumer protection.
From 2009 to 2012, he was Chair of the Steering Group of the International Competition Network, a network of over 100 competition agencies globally. During his tenure, the organisation developed a new focus and vision, and achieved greater participation by agencies from developing and newly industrialised economies.
In 2012 he left the OFT and, after a brief period as economic advisor to the Cabinet Secretary, he set up his own advisory business, Fingleton Associates, in 2013. Fingleton Associates provides strategic advice directly to CEOs and business leaders on competition-related regulation, including mergers and competition investigations. It has also provided advice on disruptive entry and innovation.
From 1991 to 2000 John was an academic economist working at at the London School of Economics, Trinity College Dublin and the University of Chicago. He published primarily on competition and regulation, and taught mathematics, microeconomics, game theory, economics of industry and regulation. He contributed to public debate on competition and regulatory matters in Ireland, most notably with proposal to reform the heavily regulated Dublin Taxi Market, which brought substantial benefits to people living in and visiting Dublin.
From 2000 to 2005, he was Chair of the Irish Competition Authority, building the agency in tandem with the introduction of a new Competition Act in 2002. He oversaw the introduction of politically independent merger review, and developed the Authority’s enforcement of competition law. He fronted the Authority’s work advocating the introduction of competition in many protected sectors, from grocery retail and pharmacy to the legal and other professions.
John is a frequent speaker on issues related to competition, consumer protection and regulation affecting competition and market entry. Recent examples include:
• Participation in a debate on morality in banking with Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury) and others at St Paul’s Cathedral, June 2013.
• A speech on how innovative new entrants deal with regulation at the WiredMoney Conference, July 2013.
• A number of talks at events organised by law firms and one by the Conference Board on competition policy issues since June 2013.
• A Review of 10 years of EU Competition Policy, organised by the publication Global Competition Review, New York, Sept 2013.