Two PCAOB Members Announce Their Resignations

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Aug 24, 2021
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Two members of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) announced that they will be resigning their seats. The two board members, Rebekah Goshorn Jurata and Megan Zietsman, said they intend to leave on the earlier of Oct. 1, 2021, or the date of the appointment of new board members. They said they were especially proud of the perseverance the PCAOB demonstrated during the past 18 months in adhering to its values and working to advance its mission, despite the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and the many challenges associated with it. Thanks to their efforts and adaptability, they said, the PCAOB has been able to advance key initiatives and accomplish its statutory mandate in very challenging times. 
 
"We remain fully committed to the mission and work of the PCAOB and our fiduciary duties as Board Members until we depart," said the two members in a joint statement. "We will leave the PCAOB with pride at having been involved in significant efforts and accomplishments, and we have nothing but respect for the important work we know the staff will continue to perform. It has also been an honor for us to serve alongside one another--the first time the PCAOB has had two female Board Members. We want to extend our gratitude to our current and former Board Members with whom we have had the opportunity to work, and we wish much success to those that will succeed us." 

Jurata was appointed to the PCAOB in 2019 to replace outgoing member Kathleen Hamm, who'd been appointed in 2017. Previously, she had been responsible for advising the former president and the National Economic Council director on an array of financial services policy matters. Before that, she had been a staff attorney in the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets, where she focused on broker-dealer regulation, including the Commission’s proposal updating the annual audit requirements for broker-dealers. She subsequently served as counsel to SEC Commissioner Daniel M. Gallagher and then as senior counsel to the House Financial Services Committee.

Zietsman was appointed just last year. Prior to that, she had been the board's chief auditor and director of professional standards. She has also been a Deloitte audit partner, a member of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board, and a member of the AICPA's Auditing Standards Board from 2007 to 2011.

The two resignations come a few months after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which oversees the board, announced its intention to completely replace its membership, starting with then-chair William Duhnke. The SEC gave no reason for the removal, but it came on the heels of a group of progressive organizations sending a letter to SEC Chair Gary Gensler, calling for him to clean house and remove the entire board, followed by a letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) calling for the same. Both letters argued that the board overall had strayed from its purpose, saying that there had been a collapse in enforcement action, a weakening of auditing standards and a dearth of outside engagement due to the shuttering of important advisory bodies. The senators' letter also mentioned the departure of senior staff, and an overall "sense of fear" that has taken hold in the organization, largely due to the chairman.

The complaints were similar to those raised by former board member J. Robert Brown. In October 2020, he launched a wide-ranging critique of the board's activities thus far: He assailed its research and standard-setting agenda as lacking innovation and ignoring investor needs, as well as the organization's lack of transparency, pointing to the fact that there had been no meetings of the Standing Advisory Group or Investor Advisory Group since 2018. Brown announced in January that he was leaving the PCAOB

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