09/26/2012 05:26 EDT | Updated 11/26/2012 05:12 EST

30-year Competition Bureau veteran tapped as interim commissioner

OTTAWA - The Competition Bureau official in charge of criminal matters has been tapped as the watchdog's interim commissioner, Industry Minister Christian Paradis announced Wednesday.

John Pecman is replacing Melanie Aitken, whose last day at the Bureau was Friday. His term will last up to one year.

"With nearly 30 years of experience at the Bureau, Mr. Pecman has a keen understanding of competition law and marketplace conduct," Paradis said in a release.

"I welcome him to his new role in helping protect Canadian consumers and enforcing fair business practices."

Pecman has been with the bureau since 1984 and has held various senior positions there.

Since 2008, he's been responsible for enforcing price-fixing and bid-rigging rules under the Competition Act.

He oversaw investigations into gas-price collusion in Ontario and Quebec and has worked with foreign competition authorities in some cartel cases.

Aitken announced in June she would be stepping down two years before her five-year term was to end.