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Justice Department Antitrust Chief Pozen Is Resigning in April

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Sharis Pozen, acting chief of the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division, will leave her position on April 30.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve in the antitrust division and in this administration for the past three years,” she said in a statement provided by the Justice Department.

When named to her post in August, Pozen, 47, agreed to stay long enough to oversee the department’s lawsuit to block AT&T Inc.’s $39 billion bid to buy T-Mobile USA Inc. on the grounds the deal would hurt competition, said a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. Germany’s Deutsche Telekom AG is the parent company of T-Mobile.

Pozen is leaving the government job after AT&T last month dropped its bid for T-Mobile, an acquisition challenged by the department and opposed by the Federal Communications Commission as well.

The case was the result of an investigation begun under Pozen’s predecessor, Christine Varney. Under Pozen, the department also successfully pressured H&R Block Inc. to abandon its acquisition of the maker of the TaxAct tax-preparation software.

“Typically, acting assistant attorney generals are relatively timid,” said David Balto, a Washington-based antitrust attorney. “She did not act as a caretaker” and “showed a tremendous amount of leadership.”

Pozen’s successor hasn’t been named.

Within the Department

The Obama administration probably will name someone within the department as acting antitrust chief, said David Meyer, former antitrust official at the Justice Department under President George W. Bush’s administration.

“Bringing someone in from the outside would be difficult” in an election year, he said.

In a statement accompanying her resignation, Attorney General Eric Holder said Pozen “has provided strong leadership and sound legal judgment on some of the most significant competition matters” handled by the Justice Department.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Bliss in Washington at jbliss@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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