The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has appointed White House aide Rebekah Goshorn Jurata to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, replacing a member who had been seeking a second term.
Kathleen Hamm, a cybersecurity expert, was appointed to the PCAOB in December 2017 to fill out the remaining term of an outgoing board member that expires this month. She had applied for a second five-year term, with the support of groups such as the Council of Institutional Investors and the CFA Institute.
But after — in an unprecedented move — opening up the job to other applicants, the SEC on Friday named Jurata, special assistant to the president for financial policy on the White House’s National Economic Council, to replace Hamm in the $500,000-a-year position.
“Rebekah brings significant public service experience, including at the SEC, and a deep understanding of our financial markets, that will complement the skills that [the other four members] bring to the Board,” SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said in a news release.
Hamm had said she wished to “continue the important work I’ve started to protect investors and the public,” which included pushing for “enhanced focus on emerging technology, cybersecurity, and the control systems that auditors use to ensure that they consistently deliver high quality audits.”
“A new board member at this juncture would slow down progress on strategic initiatives,” a CFA Institute official told Accounting Today last week, describing Hamm as “a willing and capable member of the board who can contribute immediately.”
Corporate compliance expert Matt Kelly wrote on his Radical Compliance blog that Hamm may have been “getting in the way” of Clayton’s efforts to roll back compliance with Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires annual outside audits of companies’ internal control over financial reporting.
Jurata could be “a reliable vote to weaken SOX internal control audits and otherwise do the bidding of Clayton and PCAOB chairman William Duhnke,” Kelly said.
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.