The regulator that scrutinizes the work of public companies’ CFOs is losing its own finance chief. Margaret Carpenter is retiring as the SEC’s chief financial officer after more than 32 years of working in the federal government.
Kristine Chadwick will take over as CFO and associate executive director of finance in the Office of Financial Management in January. She most recently served as the CFO for the Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, Foreign Agricultural Service, and Commodity Credit Corporation.
Carpenter, who joined the SEC as its top financial officer in 1997, is an energetic and enthusiastic employee, according to SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. “Margie worked at the commission during a time of unprecedented growth at the SEC, and she worked ably and tirelessly to strengthen the management of the agency’s finances during this challenging time,” he said.
Part of Carpenter’s challenge during her tenure was overseeing the preparation of the SEC’s first-audited financial statements in 2004, 2005, and 2006, all of which received unqualified opinions from the SEC’s auditor, the Government Accountability Office.
Still, the audits turned up potential problems with the SEC’s financial reporting. In its 2005 report on the SEC, the GAO noted 18 ways the regulator could repair material weaknesses in its internal controls. The accountability office criticized the SEC for delaying the reporting of its financials, using up significant staff resources, causing audit inefficiencies, and creating higher costs for financial-statement preparation and audits. The SEC responded by saying it would increase its financial reporting staff and reevaluate certain policies. “I’m sure we will have further discussions with what degree of implementation makes sense,” Carpenter told CFO.com at the time.
The discussions and changes must have helped as the GAO recently lauded the SEC’s improvements on its fiscal year 2006 and 2005 financial statements, giving the regulator a clean audit. The GAO said the SEC had made “significant efforts” in addressing the previously noted material weaknesses. “Although certain controls should be improved, SEC had effective internal control over financial reporting and compliance with laws and regulations,” the GAO concluded.
Before joining the SEC, Carpenter held a number of senior budget and management positions at the Department of Interior for 13 years and also worked at the Office of Management and Budget. She earned an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan and her bachelor’s degree in economics from Smith College.
Her successor, Chadwick, has experience with managing the finances of a government agency. At the Department of Agriculture, she oversaw the primary financing arm for domestic and international agricultural programs, covering hundreds of field offices, and more than $30 billion in borrowing authority.
Chadwick has also held senior positions at the Census Bureau, FDIC, the Resolution Trust Corp., and Arthur Andersen. She received her master’s in accountancy from the University of Houston, and bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia. She started work at the SEC on December 11.