Washington, D.C., Feb. 8, 2006 — LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Chairman Christopher Cox announced today that preeminent securities lawyer John W. White will join the Securities and Exchange Commission as its next Director of the Division of Corporation Finance.
“John brings unsurpassed expertise and experience with our securities laws, along with a deep commitment to promoting and safeguarding the interests of investors and the efficient operation of our capital markets,” Chairman Cox said. “Alan Beller successfully met the dual challenges of implementing Sarbanes-Oxley and the most significant securities regulatory reform in 70 years. John’s mission—to maintain the integrity and strength of our markets in an era of unprecedented global competition—may prove even more challenging. His combination of experience, intellect, and judgment make him exceptionally qualified to meet this challenge, and—like Alan—to help me and the Commission address the whole range of issues facing us. With his help, we will ensure that America’s markets remain the gold standard. When John joins the Commission, every investor in America’s capital markets will be his client.”
Mr. White, 58, is currently a partner at the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, where he has a world-renowned practice representing public companies and their financial advisors. He has been involved in hundreds of public financings, including numerous initial public offerings, and is highly respected for his work advising companies on their corporate governance and public reporting responsibilities as well as counseling companies during restatements and other financial crises.
“It is a great honor to be asked to serve in this role,” Mr. White said. “Our capital markets and our legal and regulatory systems have undergone sweeping changes in recent years and the challenge of ensuring that our markets and regulations remain sensitive to the needs of investors and issuers, and are responsive to the opportunities presented by technological advances, makes this an especially exciting time to be joining the staff. The Division, like the entire agency, is rightly known and lauded for the professionalism and talent of its staff, and I consider it a real privilege to work with them.”
Mr. White is widely recognized for his keen insight and judgment about matters of financial disclosure and public company accounting, and he will work with others at the Commission to continue to improve financial reporting as well as to further the Commission’s interests in pursuing international convergence of accounting and financial disclosure standards. He will also work closely with the Commission to expand the use of interactive data to make financial reports more useful and to find and develop additional ways in which technology may improve the accessibility and utility of public disclosures and other information for investors. Mr. White will initially focus on the Commission’s consideration of proposed rules to improve disclosure of executive compensation, to rationalize the rules by which foreign companies may exit U.S. markets and to enhance the corporate proxy process for shareholders through the Internet.
Mr. White became a member of the Standing Advisory Group of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board in January 2006. He will resign that post but will continue to work closely with the PCAOB to improve auditing practices in the U.S. and around the world.
Mr. White brings to the Commission considerable experience serving in leadership positions at his law firm. During his 25 years as a partner at Cravath, he has served in a number of management roles, including as head of the firm’s corporate department, as recruiting partner, as managing partner, and as managing partner—finance.
Mr. White also has a longstanding commitment to continuing legal education and to programs that foster the open exchange of ideas among regulators, legal practitioners, other professionals and investors. He has worked for many years with such leading securities law conferences as the Practising Law Institute’s Annual Institute on Securities Regulation and Northwestern Law School’s Securities Regulation Institute, of which he was most recently the vice-chairman. Mr. White serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Practising Law Institute.
Mr. White earned a B.S. in Accounting with honors from the University of Virginia in 1970. In 1973, he received his J.D. magna cum laude from New York University School of Law, where he was Managing Editor of the Law Review. Following law school, Mr. White served as Law Clerk to Judge John J. Gibbons of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He joined Cravath in 1975 and was elected Partner in 1980.
Mr. Beller announced in January that he would leave the Commission after more than four years as the Director of Corporation Finance, during which time he oversaw some of the most dramatic changes in corporate securities law since 1934. Mr. Beller is returning to the private sector.
Mr. White will join the staff of the Commission on March 20, 2006.