The chief enforcer of the nation's antitrust laws for the past 2 1/2 years, Christine Varney, is stepping down.
Varney's tenure at the Justice Department was marked by challenges to several proposed mergers that her staff said would have diminished competition and harmed consumer welfare had the mergers gone through. Among those was the joint bid by NASDAQ OMX Group Inc. and Intercontinental Exchange Inc. to buy NYSE Euronext.
Following her Senate confirmation in April 2009, Varney withdrew a Justice Department report that lowered the enforcement standards for Section 2 of the Sherman Act, one of the key laws targeting anticompetitive conduct.
She will join the New York law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.