Risk & Compliance

White Out at SEC

The head of the agency's Division of Corporation Finance is returning to private law.
Stephen TaubNovember 7, 2008

John White, director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance, will leave the agency at the end of the year. He plans to rejoin the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where he spent more than 25 years as a partner before joining the SEC in March 2006. White is credited with leading the division through what the SEC calls “one of the most significant and prolific rulemaking periods in its history to improve and modernize disclosure to investors.”

“White helped the SEC meet the challenges of increasing globalization of the capital markets and utilize rapidly changing technology for the benefit of investors,” the commission said in its press release.

Specifically, the SEC credits White with implementing sweeping changes in executive- and director-compensation disclosure, improving implementation of Sarbanes-Oxley internal-control requirements, promoting comparability and utility of financial reporting by accepting the use of international financial reporting standards by foreign issuers and considering its use by U.S. issuers, and exploiting technology across the agency’s rulemakings to increase transparency and facilitate investor communication.

The SEC also said White played an integral role in the commission’s response to recent market events, ensuring that his division acted swiftly and appropriately to facilitate strategic transactions and access to capital for public companies.

SEC chairman Christopher Cox said: “Thanks to [White’s] visionary work, investors for the first time are able to see the full amount that top executives are paid, and they are gaining far greater access to corporate disclosure through the introduction of interactive data and the availability of searchable information on the Web for proxy statements and other filings. John’s work has increased transparency for investors when that is what our markets have needed most.”

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