Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Christopher Cox has announced that Conrad Hewitt, a distinguished leader of the accounting profession and former chief financial regulator for the State of California, will join the SEC as its next Chief Accountant. He will begin his duties on August 18, 2006.
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As Chief Accountant, Hewitt will oversee accounting interpretations, international accounting matters, and professional practice issues. He will lead the Commission’s work on implementing Sarbanes-Oxley internal control provisions, reducing complexity in accounting, enforcing compliance with accounting standards under U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
“I’m delighted to once again have the opportunity for public service to protect investors,” Hewitt said in a prepared statement. “Having worked closely with former Financial Accounting Standards Board [FASB] Chairman Denny Beresford, I particularly look forward to a close working relationship with the FASB. My experience as the chairman of several public company audit and compensation committees, during which I worked directly with the nation’s largest auditing firms to implement the provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the private sector, has given me great respect for the role of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board [PCAOB]. I look forward to working with the professionals there to maximize the protection of shareholders while eliminating excessive costs and burdens both here and abroad. The challenges for accounting, both in the U.S. and throughout the world, have never been greater. I’m confident that we will meet them.”
Hewitt is currently Chairman of the Audit committee of Varian, Inc. He also chairs the Audit Committee for North Bay Bancorp, and chairs both the Compensation Committees and the Audit Committees of S&P Co. and Pabst Brewing Co. From 1995 to 1998, he was California Superintendent of Banking and Commissioner of the California Department of Financial Institutions.
From 1972 to 1995, Hewitt was the Managing Partner of Ernst & Young, and its predecessor firm, Ernst & Ernst, in the firm’s Northern California, Seattle and Honolulu regions. He began his career as an auditor in the U.S. Air Force at Strategic Air Command Headquarters, holding the rank of Captain. Hewitt earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Banking at the University of Illinois. He performed graduate work at the University of Southern California and participated in executive programs at Stanford University and Northwestern University. He is a certified public accountant (CPA).
"Conrad Hewitt brings to the SEC over 30 years' experience as a leader of one of the world's largest accounting firms, a strong background as a regulator, and recent service as chairman of 10 audit committees," Chairman Cox said. "His deep commitment to promoting and safeguarding the interests of investors and the efficient operation of our capital markets will make him an exceptionally valuable leader of our professional staff. Conrad's mission — to maintain the integrity and strength of our markets in an era of unprecedented global competition — is enormously important. His combination of public and private sector experience, his extensive knowledge, and his practiced judgment make him exceptionally qualified to meet this challenge, and to help me and the Commission address the whole range of domestic and international issues facing us. With his help, we will ensure that America's markets remain the gold standard. When Conrad joins the Commission, he will become America's chief accountant, and every investor will be his client."