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The head of the merger branch of the federal Competition Bureau, which is responsible for reviewing and challenging corporate deals that threaten to create monopolies or hamper competition, has resigned before her term was up.

Kelley McKinnon, a prominent lawyer with Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, had taken a leave of absence to assume the role of senior deputy commissioner in August 2012, as part of an exchange program that brings Bay Street expertise into the federal regulator. Ms. McKinnon was appointed to a two year term, which would have ended in August 2014.

The Bureau said in a news release Friday that Ann Wallwork will assume Ms. McKinnon's duties, and that it had already started looking for a successor before Ms. McKinnon decided to leave.

The Bureau did not say why Ms. McKinnon had left. Ms. McKinnon could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ms. McKinnon, who was appointed by the previous commissioner, Melanie Aitken, was the head of her law firm's litigation group, and is a former deputy director of enforcement for the Ontario Securities Commission.

The Bureau said the move is effective Friday.