S.E.C. Names New Top Lawyer

S.E.C. Names New Top Lawyer

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced on Monday that it had named Geoffrey F. Aronow to be general counsel, the agency’s top legal post.

The appointment fills an important gap in the S.E.C.’s roster. There have been a number of prominent departures in recent weeks, following the resignation of Mary L. Schapiro as chairwoman in November.

For Mr. Aronow, a partner in the Washington office of Bingham McCutchen, the move represents a return to the regulatory world. He was the head of enforcement for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the late 1990s.

At Bingham McCutchen, Mr. Aronow represented people and firms facing investigations from the S.E.C. and other regulators. The federal investigation into MF Global, the brokerage firm that went bankrupt in 2011 after raiding customer accounts, was one of his most prominent cases in recent memory. Mr. Aronow represented Christine Serwinski, MF Global’s North American chief financial officer.

“I’m truly honored to re-enter public service as the general counsel at an agency with such a storied history and critical mission of investor protection and effective market oversight,” Mr. Aronow said in a statement on Monday.

Mr. Aronow, 57, will join the S.E.C. later this month. He replaces Mark Cahn, who departed as part of a broader exodus from the agency. Robert W. Cook, the director of trading and markets, and Meredith Cross, the head of corporation finance, also announced their departures in the wake of Ms. Schapiro’s resignation.

Mr. Aronow is the first recent replacement official that the S.E.C plucked from outside the agency. And unlike other new directors, he won the job outright, saving him the burden and uncertainty of an interim status.

“Geoff brings the ideal combination of practical knowledge, expertise, and common sense that is so critical to addressing the often nuanced and difficult issues that come before the commission,” Elisse Walter, who replaced Ms. Schapiro as chairwoman, said in a statement.

Mr. Aronow joined Bingham McCutchen in 2008. He previously did two stints as a partner at Arnold & Porter.

In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Aronow is adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School. He also served on the board of the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.


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