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Holder Names Hesse Acting Head of Antitrust Division

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder named Renata Hesse as acting head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, replacing outgoing chief Joseph Wayland.

Hesse, whose high-profile cases for the division have included the one against Microsoft Corp., first worked at the department from 1997 to 2006. During that period, she was one of the division’s lead lawyers in the remedy phase of the Microsoft case, according to an e-mailed statement.

She was also involved in the division’s unsuccessful attempt to block the acquisition of PeopleSoft Inc. by Oracle Corp., which completed the deal in January 2005.

“Renata is a veteran antitrust lawyer who will lead the Antitrust Division during this time of transition on its mission to vigorously and effectively enforce the antitrust laws and protect American consumers from anticompetitive behavior,” Holder said in today’s statement.

Hesse, who became a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC after leaving the government, also served as senior counsel to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission during its review of AT&T Inc.’s proposed merger of T-Mobile USA Inc. last year.

AT&T abandoned the bid in December after the Justice Department sued to block the transaction and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said he would ask his agency’s commissioners to hold a hearing on the proposed transaction.

Hesse returned to the Justice Department in March as special adviser for civil enforcement and deputy assistant attorney general, according to the statement. Her nomination is effective today, the Justice Department said.

Hesse is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley.

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