The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced the appointments of Erica Y. Williams as chairperson and Christina Ho, Kara M. Stein, and Anthony (Tony) C. Thompson as Board members of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). The Commission confirmed that Duane DesParte will continue his service as a Board member and will remain acting chairperson until Williams begins her term.

“The PCAOB was formed in response to a crisis of confidence in the corporate disclosures of issuers after the WorldCom and Enron accounting scandals nearly 20 years ago. 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,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. “With these additions to the Board, the PCAOB will have the leadership to meet the mission given to it by Congress. 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. I would like to thank Duane DesParte for his valuable service as acting chairperson during the last several months, and I am pleased that he will stay on as a key member of the Board.”

According to the PCAOB website, it is a nonprofit corporation established by Congress to oversee the audits of public companies in order to protect investors and further the public interest in the preparation of informative, accurate, and independent audit reports. The PCAOB also oversees the audits of brokers and dealers, including compliance reports filed pursuant to federal securities laws.

The New Appointments:

Erica Y. Williams served many roles at the SEC for over a decade, including managing legal and operational functions and workflow relating to recommendations from the Division of Enforcement and Office of Compliance, Inspections and Examinations (now Division of Examinations) and served as deputy chief of staff to three former SEC chairs and assistant chief litigation counsel in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement trial unit. Following her time at the SEC, Williams served as special assistant and associate counsel to President Obama, specifically focusing on financial and economic policy issues.

Duane M. DesParte has served as the PCAOB’s acting chairperson since June 2021. Following his retirement from the Exelon Corporation, DesParte joined the Board as its chief accounting officer, corporate controller and other financial roles for almost two decades. He graduated with highest honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in accountancy.

Christina Ho has nearly three decades of experience in public finance, policy development, accounting and auditing, disclosure modernization, data analytics, and technology innovation. Ho previously served as the deputy assistant secretary for Financial Transparency & Accounting Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, as controller and interim chief financial officer for the University of Maryland College Park and held senior positions with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Deloitte & Touche LLP. Most recently, she served as vice president of Government Analytics and Innovation at Elder Research.

Kara M. Stein served as a commissioner of the SEC from 2013 to 2019. Today, she serves as a distinguished policy fellow and lecturer-in-law at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and is director of the AI, Data, and Capital Markets Initiative at the Center on Innovation, University of California Hastings Law. She previously served as senior policy advisor for securities and banking matters for U.S. Senator Jack Reed and Majority Staff Director of the Securities, Insurance, and Investment Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Stein earned a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A. from Yale College.

Anthony (Tony) C. Thompson has held senior positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as chief financial officer for a number of U.S. Air Force Bases and served in the United States Air Force for over three decades, reaching the rank of Colonel and serving as the chief budget officer. He currently serves as the executive director and chief administrative officer of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), where he oversees the Division of Administration. Thompson earned a B.S. from Regis University, an M.B.A. from Golden Gate University and an M.S. from Air War College.

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