Varney to step down as top antitrust official

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Christine Varney, the top antitrust official in the Justice Department, is stepping down to become a partner at an elite law firm in New York.

The law firm, Cravath, Swaine & Moore, made the announcement in an internal memo on Wednesday.

Varney was appointed by President Obama in 2009 to beef up antitrust enforcement, which was seen as favoring defendants in antitrust claims under President George W. Bush.

Prior to becoming Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division, Varney practiced for 10 years at Hogan & Hartson, now Hogan Lovells. She was previously a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission.

(Reporting by Alison Frankel and Leigh Jones; Editing by Eddie Evans)