While the accounting industry continues to the pick up the pieces after last year's corporate scandals, the former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission is doing the same thing. This week Harvey Pitt announced the formation of his own consulting firm - Kalorama Partners - to help domestic and international firms navigate their way through the new sea of SEC regulations.
Ethics rules will keep Pitt, 58, a prominent securities attorney, from representing clients before the SEC, but Mr. Pitt believes that helping clients deal with regulations, new accounting rules and crises will keep the firm busy. Kalorama Partners was named for a Washington, D.C. neighborhood.
"I think we are willing to provide what I hope will be very constructive consulting services," Mr. Pitt told The Washington Post.
A number of political missteps precipitated Mr. Pitt's November resignation as SEC chair. The controversy centered on the events leading up to the appointment - and subsequent resignation - of William Webster as Chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. Mr. Pitt resigned on Election Day after being widely blamed for forcing the other SEC Commissioners to vote on Mr. Webster's candidacy without knowing vital information about his background. The Commissioners later learned of an accounting-related lawsuit involving actions taken against US Technologies for which Mr. Webster served as audit committee chairman. Calls for Mr. Pitt's resignation escalated after Mr. Webster told the media he had alerted Mr. Pitt to the lawsuit prior to his appointment. Mr. Pitt was later cleared of most of the responsibility for the incident.
Mr. Pitt joined the SEC as general counsel in 1975. He was a founding trustee and president of the SEC Historical Society and was involved with various bar and continuing legal education activities in the area of securities law. In 1978, he left the SEC general counsel's office and began 25 years of successful private practice, representing the New York Stock Exchange, all the major accounting firms and many brokerage firms before he was appointed the 26th SEC chairman by President Bush in August of 2001.