On 6 March 2012, the members of the Italian Antitrust Association met with the new Chair of the Italian Competition Authority (Authority), Giovanni Pitruzzella, at a lunch meeting organised by the Association in Rome. The meeting was the occasion for Pitruzzella to share with Italy’s major antitrust practitioners, of which there are few, the priorities of the Authority's new mandate.
During the meeting, Veronica Pinotti of McDermott Will & Emery raised the question as to whether the existence of an ad hoc qualitative compliance program will continue to be considered as an effective mitigating factor. Pitruzzella replied that the Authority will continue to consider ad hoc programs as a mitigating factor. This certainly confirms the Authority's attitude towards effective compliance programs, which need to be encouraged as a valid instrument to prevent potential infringements. Standard online training sessions are unlikely to be taken into account as a mitigating factor, as they are not designed to meet the specific antitrust concerns potentially faced by a company in the sector in which it is active.
In order to mitigate the risk of potential antitrust infringements, multinational groups with operations in Italy are therefore well advised to put in place ad hoc antitrust compliance programs in their Italian subsidiaries. The McDermott Italian Antitrust & Competition team has significant experience in the creation of such programs, which have been systematically taken into account by the Italian Authority and the relevant local appeal courts.