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  • Rubén Gil


Executive Summary

  • The CNMC has appointed Marisa Tierno as the new head of the Competition Directorate, replacing Beatriz de Guindos.

  • With experience in private practice, the Dutch Competition Authority and the European Commission (where Marisa is still a Deputy Head of Unit in Cartels at the time of writing these lines), Though we are sad to see Beatriz leave the CNMC, we could not think of a more fitting replacement for her.


I. Appointments

As of August 5, 2021, the Plenary of the Board of the Spanish Competition Authority (“Comisión Nacional de Mercados y de la Competencia”, CNMC”) approved the appointment of Maria Luisa (“Marisa”) Tierno Centella as new Director of Competition at the Spanish authority.

Marisa has been appointed through public competition and accordingly with the principles of transparency and suitability for the post. After a detailed analysis of the candidates, the Council, at the proposal of the President, approved the appointment of María Luisa Tierno as the new Director of Competition, replacing Beatriz de Guindos. The CNMC President expressed his gratefulness towards de Guindos, highlighting her excellent work in recent years. María Luisa Tierno Centella will join the CNMC on 1st October.

II. Background

María Luisa Tierno Centella holds a law degree from the Complutense University of Madrid and a Master’s degree in European Law from the Université Libre de Bruxelles. She has worked in the Directorate General for Competition (DGCOMP) firstly seconded by the Dutch Authority and then as a European civil servant. She has served as Deputy Head of a Cartels Unit since 2006, leading important investigations and competition cases such as Forex, European Government Bonds and SSA bonds, Gas Insulated Switchgear and Animal Feed Phosphates (a record 35-year cartel). She drafted the legislative package introducing EU settlements and the 2006 Leniency Notice Between 1997 and 2003, she was an official at the Netherlands Competition Authority, and she also has experience in the private sector (1992-1997). She authors numerous international publications on competition, among other matters.

III. Comments

Together with new president Cani Fernández (appointed in June 2020), the Spanish Authority now has a duo of most impressive ladies at the top.

A respected cartel enforcer of worldwide caliber with incomparable experience in the field, Marisa will help Mrs Fernández align the CNMC with the most sophisticated antitrust enforcers in the world. Against a background of mediatic attention as regards the CNMC’s arguably mixed record before the courts, Marisa is likely to play a crucial role enhancing of the robustness of cartel enforcement in Spain. The country’s competition policy would certainly benefit from a settlements policy, and with fine tuning the leniency policy along the lines she has been instrumental at bringing at EU level. Perhaps more importantly, Marisa has an unparalleled record of bringing to completion cartel cases with large fines that withstand judicial review against armies of lawyers. If her Brussels successes start being replicated in Spain, the CNMC will soon become one of Europe’s most feared cartel enforcers. Though perhaps less well known in mergers or unilateral conduct, we nonetheless believe this appointment will be felt there too and would not be surprised if Spain’s (surprisingly low see here) level of intervention in mergers increased.

In short, while the least law abiding among our clients are unlikely to welcome this appointment, and we suspect we will not always agree with Marisa while defending them, this is unambiguously great news for Competition policy in Spain and Spanish consumers.


Garrido Abogados’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding these developments. To learn more about these issues, please contact the Garrido Abogados lawyer with whom you usually work, any member of the firm’s EU and Competition practice group, or the following lawyers in Madrid:

Pablo Figueroa (+34 91 210 67 86,

Rubén Gil Puente (+34 91 319 60 62,

Álvaro Salgado (+34 91 319 60 62,

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