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White House antitrust advisor Tim Wu, who helped shape the Biden administration’s competition policy, will leave his role next week.

The White House announced Wu’s departure today.

“We had the rare opportunity in this Administration to try and steer the giant battleship of antitrust policy in a new direction,” Wu said in a statement provided by the White House. “We got more done over the last two years than I would have ever imagined, and it has been the opportunity of a lifetime to work on that project with an extraordinarily talented group of colleagues in the White House and the federal agencies.”

Wu (pictured) joined the National Economic Council last March as the special assistant to the president for technology and competition policy. Wu, a prominent legal scholar, was previously a professor at Columbia Law School. He earlier worked on competition policy in the White House and the Federal Trade Commission during the Obama administration.

In 2003, Wu coined the phrase “net neutrality” to describe a principle that has since become a major focus for the telecommunications industry. The principle states that internet providers should treat the data traveling through their infrastructure equally and not throttle or charge more for certain types of traffic.

At the White House, Wu was a key architect of Biden’s July 2021 executive order on competition policy. The executive order launched 72 initiatives across more than a dozen federal agencies to promote market competition. 

Some of the initiatives launched as part of the effort focus on the tech sector. The executive order called on regulators to more closely scrutinize acquisitions made by tech giants, as well as tackle business practices that make it more difficult for consumers to repair products they purchase. The order also launched competition initiatives focused on a variety of other areas including the healthcare, agriculture and transportation sectors. 

“In the last two years, the Federal government has moved to not only reverse decades of erosion in antitrust enforcement, but to reignite a great American tradition of Presidential leadership on competition policy, harkening to the era of Franklin and Teddy Roosevelt,” said National Economic Council director Brian Deese. “Over the next two years, we will continue to institutionalize bipartisan, pro-competition reforms across agencies to lock in this progress for decades to come.”

After departing from the National Economic Council next week, Wu will return to his professorship at Columbia Law School. The White House stated today that Wu’s policy portfolio will be divided among multiple administration officials.

Photo: New America/Flickr

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