Yet another key person is leaving the Securities and Exchange Commission. General Counsel Giovanni Prezioso, who has served in the position since 2002, is stepping down in January, the SEC has announced. Prezioso plans to return to the private sector, although he has not yet accepted a position. He said he had wanted to leave earlier this year, but stayed due to the arrival of the SEC's new chairman, Christopher Cox, in August.
Serving under three different chairmen, Prezioso presided at the Commission during a period of unprecedented enforcement and regulatory activity, with the SEC pressing 2,000 enforcement actions and holding more than 100 rulemaking proceedings. "I am proud to have played a part as an advocate for the interests of U.S. investors during this historic period for the Commission and our capital markets," Prezioso said in a statement.
With Prezioso's departure, Cox now has five key positions to fill, including the director of investment management, the director of market regulation, the chief accountant and the chairman of the Public Accounting Oversight Board.
Cox is expected to fill the general counsel position quickly, The Wall Street Journal reports, as he himself is a former attorney, the position calls for a keen legal mind rather than a policymaker and the agency needs a top lawyer to defend its independent chairman rule against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's lawsuit, with the next chapter of the case taking place on Jan. 6, when oral arguments are to be heard before the U.S. Court of Appeals.