DG Comp official previews vertical block exemption concerns

DG Comp official previews vertical block exemption concerns

03 July 2019

E-commerce has changed the game for businesses’ vertical relationships, and the current vertical block exemption regulation does not fit those more complex relationships, Thomas Kramler has said.

Informal complaints keep cartel cases coming, says Belgian antitrust head

Informal complaints keep cartel cases coming, says Belgian antitrust head

02 July 2019

The president of Belgium’s Competition Authority has said that while the number of leniency applications his agency receives has gone down, the number of cartel cases that it opens has not.

Interim measures help to keep antitrust relevant, says DG Comp official

Interim measures help to keep antitrust relevant, says DG Comp official

01 July 2019

The timing of an intervention such as the interim remedies proposed for Broadcom can make enforcement more effective, a senior official at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition has said.

Snoep: Enforcers should look further into future for merger control

Snoep: Enforcers should look further into future for merger control

01 July 2019

Competition authorities’ merger analysis should include longer-term developments such as innovation and potential market entrants, the head of the Netherlands’ antitrust enforcer has said.


Benoît Durand

RBB Economics, Brussels and Paris

Benoît Durand is a Partner at RBB Economics, which he joined in 2008. He has over 20 years of experience in competition economics, particularly in applying quantitative techniques in the context of competition law investigations. Prior to joining RBB, he was Director of Economic Analysis at the UK's Competition Commission, and a member of the Chief Economist Office at the Directorate General for Competition at the European Commission.

Thomas Janssens

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Brussels

Thomas heads Freshfields’ global antitrust, competition and trade practice – a role that he combines with his dynamic and broad client practice.

He advises on EU and international antitrust law, covering transactional and conduct matters as well as related litigation.  Thomas has extensive experience in complex EU and international mandates, especially those requiring strategic management of cross-border challenges and parallel proceedings before several authorities.  The nature of his work also involves leading teams of Freshfields lawyers and local counsel around the world. 

Thomas was educated at the University of Leuven and Columbia Law School.  He is a senior vice-chair on the IBA’s antitrust committee.

Keynote Speakers

Guillaume Loriot

Director, Information, Communication and Media, DG Competiton, European Commission, Brussels

Guillaume Loriot has been the Director for "Information, Communication and Media" at the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission since 1 November 2014. In this position, he is in charge of competition enforcement through Antitrust, Merger and State aid control in IT, media and telecom markets. Prior to that, Guillaume was the Deputy Head of Cabinet of Vice President Joaquin Almunia, EU Commissioner for Competition Policy, between 2010 and 2014. Before joining the Commission, Guillaume worked in a Brussel's law firm on competition matters and subsequently as a referendaire with the EU General Court. He studied law in Paris II University, UCL and the College of Europe.

Richard Whish QC

Emeritus Professor, King's College London

Emeritus Professor Richard Whish is a legal academic and author. He is a qualified solicitor and was in legal practice in London from 1989 to 1998. He was admitted in 1977. He has been recommended for his contribution to competition law and policy, in the UK, the European Union and in many other countries with competition laws throughout the world.


Elvira Aliende Rodriguez

Shearman & Sterling, Brussels

Günter Bauer

Wolf Theiss, Vienna

Philippe Blanchard

Brunswick Group, Brussels

Fiona Carlin

Baker McKenzie, Brussels

Salomé Cisnal De Ugarte

Hogan Lovells, Brussels

Ken Daly

Sidley Austin, Brussels

Frederic Depoortere

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Brussels

Kathleen Dierckx

General Counsel, Head of worldwide Competition Department, Solvay, Brussels

David Foster

Frontier Economics, London and Brussels

Frank Hogue

White & Case, Washington, DC

Sara Ashall

Shearman & Sterling, Brussels

Foad Hoseinian

Sullivan & Cromwell, Brussels

Bojana Ignjatovic

RBB Economics, London

Uta Itzen

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Dusseldorf

Thomas Kramler

Head of Unit of unit C.6 Antitrust: E-commerce and Data Economy, DC Competition, European Commission, Brussels

Kai-Uwe Kuhn

Professor, University of East Anglia, Norwich

Elizabeth Morony

Clifford Chance, London

Fergus Randolph QC

Brick Court Chambers, London and Brussels

Katrina Robson

O’Melveny & Myers, Washington, DC

Alan Ryan

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Brussels

Margaret Segall D'Amico

Cravath, Swaine & Moore, New York

Martijn Snoep

Chairman, Authority for Consumers & Markets, The Hague

Dominique Speekenbrink

Senior Vice President - Head Antitrust Center of Expertise, ABB, Zurich

Jacques Steenbergen

President, Belgian Competition Authority, Brussels

Anneleen Straetemans

Global Legal Director Competition, AB Inbev, Brussels

Gerwin van Gerven

Linklaters, Brussels

Susanne Zuehlke

Willkie Farr & Gallagher, Brussels

Dominique Moïsi

French Institute for International Relations


Monday 1 July 2019

13.25: Welcome coffee and registration

13.45: Chair's opening remarks

Thomas Janssens, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Brussels
Benoît Durand, RBB Economics, Brussels and Paris

14.00: Keynote speech

Guillaume Loriot, Director, Information, Communication and Media, DG Competition, European Commission, Brussels 

14.30: Merger control in flux

Is merger control broken? Amid the real or perceived politicization of EU merger control and a renewed push for European champions, is there a need for reform of the bloc’s merger regulations?

This panel will also explore the sands shifting under merger control regimes around the world. Are non-mainstream theories of harm the new normal? And should authorities look more critically at vertical mergers? Are efficiencies real? Should authorities presume harm?

Benoît Durand, RBB Economics, Brussels and Paris

Kathleen Dierckx, General Counsel, Head of worldwide Competition Department, Solvay, Brussels
Martijn Snoep, Authority for Consumers & Markets, The Hague
Sara Ashall, Shearman & Sterling, Brussels
Frederic Depoortere, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & FlomBrussels

15.40: Coffee break

16.10: No more smoke-filled rooms? – developments in cartel enforcement

As the number of leniency filings around the world plummets, is leniency still attractive? Has harsher scrutiny of whistleblowers and leniency applicants killed the proverbial goose that laid the golden egg? 

This panel will also ask whether this downturn is simply a dip in the cycle of cartel enforcement – with the various amnesty-plus pipelines drying up - or if algorithms, parallelism and other less-detectable cartel activity – coupled with those leniency concerns – has ended the golden age of anti-cartel enforcement.

Uta Itzen, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Düsseldorf

Elvira Aliende Rodriguez, Shearman & Sterling, Brussels
Günter Bauer, Wolf Theiss, Vienna
Frank Hogue, White & Case, Washington, DC
Jacques Steenbergen, President, Belgian Competition Authority, Brussels

17.20: Conclusion of day one

19.00 onwards: All delegates are invited to attend a drinks reception and all-conference dinner sponsored by Shearman & Sterling

Dinner speaker
Dominique Moïsi, Founder, French Institute for International Relations

Tuesday 2 July 2019

8.15: Welcome coffee and registration

8.45: Richard Whish QC’s The Year in Review

Professor Whish will review the year just gone, emphasising the themes and trends behind the headlines.

Richard Whish QC, Emeritus Professor, King's College, London

10.15: Coffee break                           

10.40: Mergers in the courtroom

This panel will explore the strategies and outcomes of a host of recent merger trials that have affected case law on both sides of the Atlantic. The panel will explore the impact of the AT&T/Time Warner trial and appeal in the US, and the UPS/TNT case and the outstanding appeals in the EU courts, along with several other merger matters that have found their way to the courtroom in various jurisdictions. What did the agencies get right or wrong in each case, and what are the lessons for future litigants challenging or defending deals?

Susanne Zuehlke, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, Brussels

Alan Ryan, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Brussels
David Foster, Frontier Economics, London and Brussels
Margaret Segall D'Amico, Cravath, Swaine & Moore, New York
Foad Hoseinian, Sullivan & Cromwell, Brussels

11.50: Vertical reform in Europe

With three years until Europe’s vertical block exemption regulation expires, we ask how the European Commission has enforced the law in light of the exemption, and whether the exemption remains fit for purpose. We also look at recent resale price maintenance cases and whether such agreements should fall under the exemption and be shielded from the EU’s article 101.

Fiona Carlin, Baker McKenzie, Brussels

Thomas Kramler, Head of Unit of unit C.6 Antitrust: E-commerce and Data Economy, European Commission, Brussels
Anneleen Straetemans, Global Legal Director Competition, AB Inbev, Brussels
Kai-Uwe Kuhn, Professor, University of East Anglia, Norwich

12.50: Networking lunch                                

13.50: Full compensation for injured parties: where do we stand more than four years after the adoption of the Antitrust Damages Directive?

Follow-on damages actions have been increasing for some several years, but has the directive really made a difference to facilitate these actions? And if so where?

The panel will also ask whether the damages directive had any impact on leniency applications, and whether the EU’s draft guidelines on the passing-on of overcharges, if enacted, would help follow-on actions, notably for indirect customers.

Ken Daly, Sidley Austin, Brussels

Dominique Speekenbrink, Senior Vice President - Head Antitrust Center of Expertise, ABB, Zurich
Katrina Robson, O’Melveny & Myers, Washington, DC
Fergus Randolph QC, Brick Court Chambers, London and Brussels
Elizabeth Morony, Clifford Chance, London

15.00: Coffee break

15.20: Reviewing the Vestager years and looking forward – will the pendulum swing in the other direction?

As Commissioner Vestager’s tenure as head of DG Competition comes to a close, we look back at her time as Europe’s head competition enforcer and ask whether the agency under her guidance has been as fair and transparent as possible; examine her legacy of strong state aid and abuse of dominance enforcement; and question whether Europe might abandon local competitiveness in favour of global competitiveness under the next head of DG Competition.

Gerwin van Gerven, Linklaters, Brussels

Philippe Blanchard, Brunswick Group, Brussels
Bojana Ignjatovic, RBB Economics, London
Salomé Cisnal De Ugarte, Hogan Lovells, Brussels

16.20: Chairs’ closing remarks 

Thomas Janssens, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Brussels
Benoît Durand, RBB Economics, Brussels and Paris

16.30: Conference close


Steigenberger Wiltcher's, Avenue Louise 71, 1050, Brussels, Belgium

Ticket prices

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Super Early €1,300  17 May 2019
Early €1,500 14 June 2019
Standard €1,800 2 July 2019


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