FINRA taps Cleary Gottlieb’s Robert Cook as its new CEO, replacing Richard Ketchum


The U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) today announced that its Board of Governors has concluded its CEO search, and appointed Robert W. Cook as its new CEO, effective the second half of 2016. Mr. Cook will succeed Richard G. Ketchum, who has served as Chairman and CEO since 2009.

Unlike Mr. Ketchum, Robert Cook will not also hold the role of Chairman. The Board intends to name a new Chairman in the coming months.

FINRA had announced late last year that Richard Ketchum was set to retire in 2016.

Mr. Cook joins FINRA from law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, where he has served as a partner in the firm’s Washington, DC, office since June 2013. While at Cleary Gottlieb, he has focused on the regulation of securities markets and market intermediaries, including broker-dealers, exchanges, alternative trading systems and clearing agencies.

Prior to joining Cleary Gottlieb, Mr. Cook served as the Director of the Division of Trading and Markets (Division) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from 2010 to 2013. Under his direction, the Division’s 250 professionals were responsible for regulatory policy and oversight with respect to broker-dealers, securities exchanges and markets, clearing agencies and FINRA. He also directed the staff’s review of equity market structure and its analysis of the Flash Crash of May 6, 2010.

Prior to joining the SEC, Mr. Cook served as a partner at Cleary Gottlieb since 2001 after joining the firm in 1992.

“Robert has a deep understanding of the securities markets, and investors will greatly benefit from his broad regulatory expertise developed as Director of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets, where he led the organization in establishing and maintaining standards for fair, orderly and efficient markets,” said FINRA Lead Governor Jack Brennan, former CEO of Vanguard Group. “We thank Rick for his terrific leadership as FINRA’s Chairman and CEO, and express our gratitude on behalf of all investors for his decades of service.”

“Having known and worked alongside Robert for several years, I know that he brings extensive expertise as one of the leading practitioners on broker-dealer and market regulation, as well as proven regulatory and leadership experience,” said Mr. Ketchum. “Robert’s appointment is the result of the Board’s careful and thorough search process to identify the right leader to carry on FINRA’s important role of educating and protecting investors in the years ahead. It has been my honor and privilege to lead this extraordinary organization.”

“I am honored to join FINRA as CEO, and to have the opportunity to work alongside FINRA’s talented and dedicated staff in the critical role of protecting investors, as well as ensuring fair and orderly financial markets,” said Mr. Cook. “I look forward to building on Rick’s many years of excellent work and collaborating with FINRA’s Board, members and other stakeholders to strengthen investor protections, promote market integrity and enhance FINRA’s core competencies of examinations, enforcement, rulemaking, market transparency and market surveillance.”

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FINRA taps Cleary Gottlieb's Robert Cook as its new CEO, replacing Richard Ketchum

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