While Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was appointing Roni Bar-On to replace Ehud Olmert as industry, trade and labor minister, Olmert was appointing Ronit Kan as the first female antitrust commissioner. Olmert, who is also the acting finance minister, chose Kan, 39, over three other candidates he interviewed last week to replace Dror Strum. This was after the selection committee had whittled down the list from 30 applicants. Kan is the head of the foreign trade department at the Industry and Trade Ministry, where she has worked for 15 years in a variety of managerial positions. Her responsibilities have included drawing up trade agreements and managing 30 economic representatives around the world. Strum, 42, is leaving the job after almost five years, having been appointed in February 2001. The antitrust commissioner usually stays in the job for about four years, Strum said, adding that he now planned to help Kan get acclimated in her new job, take a vacation and provide consulting services to the government. Olmert, who described the role of antitrust commissioner as "an important job in the Israeli economy," said he would continue to seek to appoint women to important jobs. "In choosing candidates for senior positions, with everything being equal, [Olmert] prefers to appoint women," the Industry and Trade Ministry said in a statement. "This is how he has operated in the past, how he operates now and how he intends to operate in the future."