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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Goelzer

SEC Unveils its PCAOB Make-Over

On November 8, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced the appointment of four new members to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. The Commission also announced that current Board member and acting Chair Duane DesParte would retain his Board seat. New appointee Erica Williams will become the Board’s Chair.

In June, the SEC removed William Duhnke from his position as PCAOB Chair and announced that it was seeking candidates to fill all five PCAOB board positions. See SEC Removes the Chair and Plans to Clean House at the PCAOB, May-June 2021 Update. In connection with those actions, SEC Chairman Gensler stated that he looked forward to setting the PCAOB “on a path to better protect investors.” On September 30, two of the three remaining Board members resigned, leaving acting Chair DesParte as the only sitting Board member.

As a result of the SEC decisions announced on November 8, the members of the PCAOB will be:

Erica Y. Williams. Ms. Williams, a lawyer, is currently a litigation partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Kirkland & Ellis. She was previously on the SEC staff for more than a decade in various roles, including Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel in the Division of Enforcement trial unit. She also served as Special Assistant and Associate Counsel to President Obama.

Duane M. DesParte. Mr. Desparte has served on the PCAOB since 2018 and is currently the Board’s Acting Chair. He joined the Board after and 15-year career at Exelon Corporation, including service as chief accounting officer and corporate controller. Before joining Exelon, he was a partner at Deloitte & Touche and, prior to that, at Arthur Andersen. He is a CPA.

Christina Ho. Ms. Ho most recently was Vice President of Government Analytics and Innovation at Elder Research. She has previously worked as Interim Chief Financial Officer at the University of Maryland; held various positions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, including Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Transparency & Accounting Policy; and been a Senior Manager with Deloitte & Touche. Ms. Ho is a CPA.

Kara M. Stein. Ms. Stein served as an SEC Commissioner from 2013 to 2019. She is currently a Distinguished Policy Fellow and Lecturer-in-Law at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and Director of the AI, Data, and Capital Markets Initiative at the Center on Innovation, University of California Hastings Law. Earlier in her career, she worked on the staff of U.S. Senator Jack Reed.

Anthony (Tony) C. Thompson. Mr. Thompson currently serves as Executive Director and Chief Administrative Officer of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He previously held senior positions at the Department of Agriculture and served in the United States Air Force for 32 years.

As of November 30, Ms. Ho and Ms. Stein had been sworn in, but Ms. Williams and Mr. Thompson had not yet joined the Board. When all five Board members are in place, the new Board will presumably reassess the PCAOB’s strategic plan and provide some indication of its priorities and goals.

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