PCAOB Revamped With Four New Members

“With these additions to the board, the PCAOB will have the leadership to meet the mission given to it by Congress.”
Matthew HellerNovember 9, 2021

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has appointed a new chair of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and three new members as part of a sweeping overhaul of the regulator.

The revamp announced on Monday came five months after the SEC abruptly removed William Duhnke as chair and leaves Duane DesParte as the only holdover from the five-person board that served during the Trump administration.

Longtime SEC official Erica Williams was named to succeed Duhnke while Christina Ho, Kara Stein, and Anthony C. Thompson will join DesParte as members.

Erica Williams

Kara Stein

Christina Ho

Anthony C. Thompson

Duane DesParte

“Finance is about trust, and the PCAOB has a critical role to play in ensuring that public company financial disclosures can be trusted by investors,” SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in a news release. “With these additions to the board, the PCAOB will have the leadership to meet the mission given to it by Congress.”

As The Wall Street Journal reports, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, and Bernie Sanders, Vermont Independent, had urged the SEC to overhaul the PCAOB, saying the Trump administration had eroded the board’s independence and expertise, leading the watchdog to weaken auditor-independence rules and exclude investors from participating in its policy-making process.

In ousting Dunkhe, Gensler said the PCAOB wasn’t adequately fulfilling its mission of “auditing the auditors.”

Of the other Trump-era members, Megan Zietsman and Rebekah Joshorn Gurata announced in August they would resign by Oct. 1 and J. Robert Brown departed in January.

The SEC is now reportedly investigating whether Duhnke violated any rules in his handling of internal complaints while an official report criticized the board’s feuding members for “bad communications and bad chemistry.”

New member Stein served as an SEC commissioner from 2013 to 2019, Ho is a former Treasury Department official who most recently worked at Elder Research, and Thompson is currently chief administrative officer of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

“Erica, Christina, Kara, and Tony have demonstrated deep commitment to public service. They will represent the interests of investors and the public at the PCAOB,” Gensler said.