Charles James, who is reviewing two giant media mergers, is stepping down as
chief of the Department of Justice's antitrust division later this year.
James, who joined the DOJ June 14, 2001, is resigning to join ChevronTexaco
Corp. as vice president and general counsel.
James is reviewing the proposed direct-broadcast satellite merger between
EchoStar Communications Corp. and DirecTV Inc. parent Hughes Electronics Corp.,
and the separate cable-TV merger between AT&T Broadband and Comcast
Both deals also require the approval of the Federal Communications
It was unclear from the DOJ's announcement whether James would step down
before he had completed his work on the media mergers. DOJ press aides would not
provide a specific date for James' departure.
The cable merger is not expected to encounter much difficulty. In fact,
AT&T Broadband and Comcast have announced that the DOJ can't stop the
transaction from closing, having let a federal deadline pass without filing to
block the deal.
The DBS merger is considered more problematic because rural Americans would
see their DBS options shrink from two providers to one.
But EchoStar spokesman Marc Lumpkin said the company 'continues to work with
the DOJ and the FCC in their ongoing review of the merger. We believe the merger
is good for consumers and should be approved based on its compelling