The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that Enforcement Director Andrew J. Ceresney will leave the agency by the end of the year.
During his nearly four years as head of the agency’s largest division, Mr. Ceresney implemented approaches that strengthened the Division’s investigative and litigation practices and enhanced its effectiveness and impact. Under his leadership, the Enforcement Division brought significant cases across the entire spectrum of the securities industry, achieving record numbers of enforcement actions and monetary remedies.
Under Andrew’s strong leadership, the Enforcement Division took its already robust enforcement program to an even higher level, achieving unprecedented results, including a record number of enforcement actions, first-of-their-kind cases and a first ever admissions policy for a civil law enforcement agency,” said SEC Chair Mary Jo White. “Andrew’s tremendous work ethic, commitment to do what is right, and deep dedication to his entire team have made him an incredibly effective leader. America’s investors and our markets have been extremely fortunate to have him fighting in their corner for the last four years. And I am very grateful for his wise counsel, impeccable judgment and expertise.
Mr. Ceresney added:
My time as Enforcement Director has been the highlight of my career, allowing me to work closely with the extremely talented and dedicated group of professionals in the SEC’s Enforcement Division. I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together – our innovative and wide-ranging actions have protected investors, deterred misconduct, and sent the message that the SEC is and always must be the tough cop on the financial beat. I am particularly grateful to Chair White for the opportunity to work under her leadership and her deep commitment to strong enforcement to protect investors and our markets.
During Mr. Ceresney’s tenure, the Commission filed more than 2,850 enforcement actions and obtained judgments and orders totaling more than $13.8 billion in monetary sanctions. The SEC also charged over 3,300 companies and over 2,700 individuals, including many CEOs, CFOs, and other senior corporate officers. The Division’s actions under his leadership involved every priority area, including:
Upon Mr. Ceresney’s departure, Stephanie Avakian, Deputy Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, will become the Acting Director. Ms. Avakian joined the SEC in June 2014 from the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, where she was a partner in the firm’s New York office and a vice chair of the firm’s securities practice. She previously worked in the SEC Enforcement Division as a branch chief in the New York Regional Office, and later served as a counsel to SEC Commissioner Paul Carey. Ms. Avakian obtained her bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from the College of New Jersey, and her law degree magna cum laude from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.