Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler announced the impeachment of William Duhnke as Chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and appointed Duane M. DesParte Interim Chairman, the regulator said in a statement on Friday.
The PCAOB was created by a 2002 law passed following the collapse of Enron, which also led to the failure of Arthur Andersen, in order to create more control over the accounting firms that audit financial statements public enterprises.
“The PCAOB has the opportunity to live up to the vision of Congress in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act,” said SEC Chairman Gary Gensler. “I look forward to working with my fellow Commissioners, Interim President DesParte, and PCAOB staff, to put it on the path to better investor protection by ensuring that public company audits are informative, accurate. and independent. ”
The SEC also announced that it “intends to seek candidates to fill the five positions on the PCAOB board.”
Progressive Democrats have pushed for Gensler to remove all Trump-appointed members of the PCAOB, with Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont send a letter to Gensler last week calling on the SEC chief to “immediately remove and replace members of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board”.
“We call on you to make full use of these authorities to repair the damage caused by the Trump administration and begin the serious work of rebuilding the PCAOB. It must start with a clean slate and a new direction of leadership, ”the lawmakers wrote.
In 2017, President Trump’s SEC Chairman Jay Clayton makes a similar gesture, removing Obama-era appointees and appointing five new board members.
The two Republican-appointed SEC commissioners, Hester Peirce and Elad Roisman, protested Gensler in their own statement.
“While the Commission has the power to remove PCAOB members from their posts without cause, in all of our actions we must act with a fair process, fully informed deliberations and serenity, which has characterized the actions of the Commission here, ”they wrote. . “A future in which PCAOB members are replaced with every change of administration would run counter to Sarbanes Oxley’s establishment of staggered terms for board members,” inject instability into the PCAOB and undermine the important mission of the PCAOB by suggesting that it is subject to the vicissitudes of politics. “