And then there was one. On Monday, two of the three remaining members of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board announced their resignations, concluding their very brief tenures at the auditing industry’s overseer.
Rebekah Goshorn Jurata and Megan Zietsman released a joint statement saying they would resign on the earlier of October 1, 2021, or the date of the appointment of new board members. The resignations were not unexpected.
“While it has been an honor to serve as board members of the PCAOB and a privilege to work alongside our dedicated staff to advance our important mission, neither of us applied to be considered by the [Securities and Exchange] Commission for the board seats that we currently hold,” the statement said.
A June shakeup of the PCAOB by SEC Chair Gary Gensler abruptly removed PCAOB chair William Duhnke III. At that time, the SEC hinted that it would be replacing the entire five-person board.
The only remaining board member is Duane DesParte, who in June was named acting chair. He, too, is expected to step down, most likely when his replacement is named.
The SEC appointed Jurata to the PCAOB in October 2019. She had been a special assistant to the president for financial policy on the White House’s National Economic Council. Jurata began her professional career as a staff attorney in the SEC’s division of trading and markets, where she focused on broker-dealer regulation.
Zietsman’s term was even shorter, as she was appointed in October 2020. Her term wasn’t up until October 2025.
Before her appointment, Zietsman had been chief auditor and director of professional standards of the PCAOB. Before that, she was a partner in Deloitte & Touche LLP’s professional practice network in the United States. Zietsman also served on the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board from 2014 to 2019.
In their joint statement, Jurata and Zietsman thanked the staff of the PCAOB for their hard work and dedication. “We are especially proud of the perseverance they have demonstrated during the past 18 months in adhering to our values and working to advance our mission, despite the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and the many challenges associated with it. Thanks to their efforts and adaptability, the PCAOB has been able to advance key initiatives and accomplish its statutory mandate in very challenging times.”
The overlapping terms of Jurata and Zietsman marked the first time the PCAOB had two female board members.
In June, the SEC said it had directed its Office of the Chief Accountant to begin soliciting new applications for the board positions. However, so far, no timeline has been given for when the new PCAOB members will be named.
The plan to wipe the slate clean at the PCAOB has not been without controversy. For example, SEC commissioners Hester Peirce and Elad Roisman in June said, “A future in which PCAOB members are replaced with every change in administration would run counter to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s establishment of staggered terms for board members, inject instability at the PCAOB, and undermine the PCAOB’s important mission by suggesting that it is subject to the vicissitudes of politics.”