PCAOB Vacancy May Be Solved Soon with Two SEC Candidates for Chairmanship

Jack Humphrey, Regulatory journalist
December 06, 2010 /

Since the resignation of Mark Olson as Public Companies Accounting Oversight Board’s (PCAOB) chairman in 2009, the board that regulates auditors of public corporations has always been found wanting a full-time leader. Anytime soon, PCAOB may finally have its vacant seats filled in as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is considering two names to contend for the top post in the regulatory board.

Some three insiders disclosed SEC’s shortlist of candidates who previously served the commission few years ago. The SEC is evaluating which of James Doty, 70, a former SEC general counsel, and John Huber, 62, SEC’s former corporation finance division head, will chair PCAOB, of which efficiency has been constantly questioned, having imposed only 31 disciplinary actions for eight years now since its inception.

Olson pointed out that appointing an interim chair for the board does not create a sense of full commitment in the appointee. He added that filling in the vacant seat for the top post first would be a wise move so the prospective chairman may endorse shortlist of candidates to satisfy the remaining vacancies of PCAOB, which has been operating without a complete board.

PCAOB, which has been created by virtue of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002, has been headed by its interim chairman Daniel Goelzer and two others.

In addition to doubts over its efficiency as a regulator despite the high pay that the board members are earning, PCAOB’s legality has also been questioned, but eventually survived as the Supreme Court voted for its constitutionality in a 5-4 decision.

SEC chairman Mary Schapiro said July in a congressional hearing that she has been concerned with the PCAOB vacancy and that filling it in was one of her top priorities.


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