By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON -White House competition adviser Tim Wu, who advocated breaking up Big Tech companies and coined the term “net neutrality”, plans to step down and return to his previous post as a Columbia University professor, a source told Reuters.
In March 2021, President Joe Biden named Wu, Columbia’s Julius Silver Professor of Law, Science and Technology, to help lead efforts to boost competition.
Wu plans to leave his White House post in the combing months but the precise timing is not known, the source added.
Wu has warned against an economy dominated by a few giant firms.
In July 2021, Biden signed a sweeping executive order to promote more competition in the U.S. economy, asking agencies to crack down on anti-competitive practices in sectors from agriculture to drugs and labor.
Wu was one of the main architects of the competition executive order and Biden’s competition policy.
The order instructed antitrust agencies to focus on labor, healthcare, technology and agriculture. The White House has said the “lack of competition drives up prices for consumers and drives down wages for workers.”
The Biden administration has taken steps to promote competition in many sectors, including the U.S. meat industry and among U.S. airlines.
Biden created a council chaired by the head of the White House National Economic Council Brian Deese, which includes a number of cabinet agencies including the Justice, Transportation, Commerce and Agriculture departments as well as chairs of the Federal Trade Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Communications Commission.
Deese said last month that Biden believes that “driving structural change to promote competition across the economy” will “generate more innovation, greater productivity, more opportunity in the country while lowering prices for consumers and increasing wages for workers.”
Deese said the administration will propose new rules in the coming months to provide airline travelers and broadband customers with more information to “comparison shop.”
(Reporting by David ShepardsonEditing by Chris Reese and David Gregorio)