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SEC General Counsel Announces Departure
Two more top officials at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have announced that they are leaving the agency.
General counsel Mark Cahn, a former partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, said Wednesday that he is heading for the exits, as is Robert Cook, the director of the Division of Trading and Markets who was previously a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
Cahn said he will leave at the end of the year to rejoin the private sector. Cook gave no specific departure date. According to the SEC, he will "remain with the Commission for a transitional period in order to help ensure continuity in the Division's functions."
The announcements come one day after Corporation Finance Division head Meredith Cross (another Wilmer alum) said she was leaving at the end of the year. Last week, Chairman Mary Schapiro announced that her last day will be December 14.
Cahn has served as the SEC's chief legal officer since February 2011. Prior to becoming general counsel, he was deputy general counsel for two years.During his tenure as GC, Cahn was "deeply involved" in establishing the SEC's whistleblower program, according to the agency, and provided advice on every agency rulemaking, most notably the Dodd-Frank Act.
On the appellate front, he was involved as amicus in Supreme Court cases dealing with mutual fund advisory fees (Jones v. Harris Associates), the statute of limitations in securities litigation (Merck & Co., Inc. v. Reynolds), and pleading and proof requirements in securities fraud actions (Matrixx Initiatives v. Siracusano and Erica P. John Fund v. Halliburton).
"Mark has always provided the Commission clear and thoughtful legal advice as we set out to better protect investors," Schapiro said in a news release. "The Commission has benefited greatly from his careful guidance and his good judgment."
Cahn has not revealed what his next job will be. As for his replacement at the SEC, the agency will make an announcement once he leaves, according to a spokeswoman.
Cook joined the SEC as head of the Division of Markets and Trading in January 2010 from Cleary, overseeing securities exchanges and markets, broker-dealers, clearing agencies and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
Also on his plate: directing the staff's ongoing review of equity market structure and its analysis of the "Flash Crash" of May 6, 2010. In addition, he led market structure initiatives including the adoption of enhanced risk controls for traders with access to the securities markets, large trader registration and reporting rules, and consolidated audit trail rules.
Cook also supervised more than 30 other major rulemaking initiatives and studies authorized or mandated by Dodd-Frank or the JOBS Act.
"Robert provided extraordinary counsel and worked tirelessly as we put in place measures that have helped to bolster our markets," Schapiro said in a news release. "With his deep experience across a range of issues, he has helped us lay the groundwork for an entirely new and comprehensive regulatory regime for derivatives."
This article originally appeared as a post on The BLT: The Blog of LegalTimes.