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Accounting Board Sets Steps for Getting Organized

The oversight group is leaving the task of choosing an interim chairman to the SEC.

November 14, 2002|From Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON — The new U.S. accounting oversight board on Wednesday set "milestones" for getting organized and left to the Securities and Exchange Commission a decision on naming an interim chairman to replace William H. Webster.

Webster, who resigned from the board Tuesday in the wake of controversies surrounding the SEC's process in selecting him, still led the initial meeting Wednesday. He said he expected the SEC to select one of the four remaining board members to serve as interim chairman.

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, created by Congress in July in the aftermath of this year's wave of accounting scandals, scheduled its first formal meeting for early January. Before then, the board's members agreed to develop a first-year budget and set milestones including a review of auditing standards.

Webster's selection last month drew criticism after reports that SEC Chairman Harvey L. Pitt failed to inform other SEC commissioners that Webster had headed the audit committee of a now-insolvent firm being sued for fraud. The uproar caused Pitt to resign last week; Webster followed Tuesday.

A permanent chairman to succeed Webster is not expected to be named by the SEC until the Bush administration has filled Pitt's seat at the agency.

The board on Wednesday put out a call for resumes from people interested in joining its staff. Resumes can be sent to any board member, the panel said.

The remaining board members are Kayla J. Gillan, former general counsel of the California Public Employees' Retirement System; Daniel L. Goelzer, an attorney at Baker & McKenzie in Washington; former Rep. Willis D. Gradison, an Ohio Republican; and Charles D. Niemeier, chief accountant at the SEC's enforcement division.

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