SEC Swears in New PCAOB Chair, New Board Member

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jan 3, 2018
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William D. Duhnke III was officially sworn in yesterday as the new chair of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), along with a new member, Kathleen Hamm. He replaces the outgoing chair, James Doty. Duhnke previously served as Staff Director and General Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations. Prior to joining the Senate staff, Mr. Duhnke served in the U.S. Navy and the Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces. He received a J.D. from Catholic University and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin.

 Beyond serving as a staffer with the Senate Rules Committee, he has also served as a staffer for the Senate Banking Committee,  the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Appropriations Committee. He was also a figure in the 2015 trial involving the leak of classified intelligence regarding Iran, with court testimony saying that he declined to cooperate with the FBI investigation into the matter. He also appeared in a matter involving the CIA decision to destroy tapes of the agency's harsh interrogation methods, according to the New York Times. He backed the assertion that the then-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Pat Roberts, did not approve the decision to destroy the tapes, though noted that the decision was not unwelcome either. Duhnke said that he had originally proposed placing a committee staff member who was a trained interrogator at the CIA's secret overseas prisons to observe the interrogations, something that the CIA twice refused. While the CIA eventually did allow Senate staff to learn about the interrogation program, none were permitted to observe questioning. 

"I am pleased to lead the PCAOB in its mission to protect Main Street investors and promote public trust in quality audits of public companies whose securities trade in U.S. markets," said Chairman Duhnke. "As the other new Board members join the PCAOB, I look forward to developing a collaborative and consensus-based approach to PCAOB's programs and operations and advancing sustainable audit quality that benefits the capital markets."

The SEC also formally swore in new board member Kathleen Hamm, who previously had served in the Treasury Department as counselor to the deputy secretary on cybersecurity and related governance, regulatory, compliance, and risk management issues facing the financial services sector. During this time she also led Treasury's cybersecurity working group, which helped develop, coordinate, and facilitate the implementation of the department's internal and external cybersecurity strategies and initiatives. Before that, she led the Securities Practices Group at Promontory, specializing in complex regulatory, compliance, risk management, and enforcement issues during the financial crisis and its aftermath. She also served as the independent compliance consultant in settled enforcement actions and conducted independent internal investigations.

"Audit quality is vital to the effective operation of the capital markets and key to investor protection. I look forward to contributing to PCAOB's oversight of this important function," said Board Member Hamm.

The Wall Street Journal noted that SEC Commissioner Jay Clayton declined to reappoint any of the previous board members, wishing instead to start with a completely clean slate. The Journal said this was out of a desire to make a definitive break from the Obama era. The SEC has before never declined to reappoint PCAOB members who were eligible to serve another term, according to the Journal. The SEC has appointed three other new Board members to the PCAOB, J. Robert Brown, James Kaiser, and Duane DesParte, who will join the Board shortly. Board Member Jeanette M. Franzel will continue as a Board member, pending the arrival of new Board members. Former Chairman James R. Doty, and Board Members Steven B. Harris, and Lewis H. Ferguson have completed their service at the PCAOB.

Board Member Jeanette M. Franzel will continue as a Board member, pending the arrival of new Board members. Former Chairman James R. Doty, and Board Members Steven B. Harris, and Lewis H. Ferguson have completed their service at the PCAOB.

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