Wesley R. Bricker has been named chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission, succeeding James Schnurr, who is retiring.

Bricker had been named deputy chief accountant in 2015, and has served as interim chief accountant since July 2016, after Schnurr was involved in a serious bicycling accident.

As chief accountant, Bricker serves as the principal advisor to the commission on accounting and auditing matter, and is responsible for helping oversee the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

“I am very pleased to appoint Wes as the Chief Accountant,” said SEC Chair Mary Jo White in a statement. “He has demonstrated excellent leadership and analytic skills in leading the work of the office, and we are very fortunate to continue to have him serve this critical role at the agency.”

“It is an honor to continue to work on behalf of investors and to lead the talented and dedicated staff of the Office of the Chief Accountant and work together with the accounting and auditing standard-setters’ boards and staff,” Bricker said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to promote improvements to financial reporting, including monitoring that the objectives of existing and new accounting and auditing standards meet the needs of investors for useful and reliable financial reporting information.”

Prior to joining the SEC in 2015, Bricker was an audit partner at Big Four firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, focusing on banking, capital markets, financial technology, and investment management sectors. He had also served as a professional accounting fellow in Office of the Chief Accountant from 2009 to 2011. He holds a B.S. in accounting from Elizabethtown College and a law degree from American University.

Schnurr came to his position as chief accountant in October 2014 from Big Four firm Deloitte, where he was vice chairman, and had worked at the SEC to enhance the transparency and relevancy of financial reporting prior to his bike accident in April 2016. He had been the commission’s point man on reviewing and considering alternatives for the use of International Financial Reporting Standards by domestic issues.

“Jim’s extensive accounting and auditing expertise has been invaluable to the commission,” said White in a statement. “Jim has been a strong leader -- encouraging improvement in audit quality and working to facilitate other important goals, including consistent implementation and application of new accounting standards. I am deeply grateful to Jim for his service as the agency’s chief accountant. We all wish him the very best as he focuses full-time on his rehabilitation.”

“It has been a true honor to have served as the chief accountant and to have the opportunity to work with the talented and dedicated professionals at the SEC,” Schnurr said in a statement. “In particular, I want to thank Chair White for her leadership on important financial reporting issues.”

 

REACTIONS

The appointment drew approbation and congratulations for various stakeholders in the accouning world.

“We want to congratulate Wes Bricker on his appointment," Financial Accounting Foundation Teresa Polley said in a statement. "Transparency, integrity and accuracy in financial reporting and auditing are foundational to our country’s economy; Wes Bricker champions these values and brings incredible knowledge, energy and experience to the Chief Accountant’s office. We are pleased for Wes personally, and believe this appointment is squarely in the best interests of our country and our financial markets."

“Wes has proven to be an effective interim chief accountant, and we look forward to continuing to work with him to advance audit quality and serve investors," said Center for Audit Quality executive director Cindy Fornelli, in a statement. "He brings a wealth of accounting and auditing expertise and a critical technological and data analytics skillset to the role."

Both the FAF and the CAQ acknowledged Schnurr's contributions as well. “We would also like to extend our thanks and best wishes to outgoing Chief Accountant James Schnurr," Polley stated. "Jim dedicated himself to public service at the SEC following his retirement from Deloitte, and has been a staunch advocate for excellence and continuous improvement in the areas of accounting and financial reporting.  We wish him well in retirement and applaud his strong leadership during his time at the SEC.” Fornelli also thanked the retiring chief accountant: "We commend him for his efforts to enhance audit quality and his many accomplishments during his tenure, including his leadership in advancing a productive dialogue among key stakeholders on internal control over financial reporting. We wish him well in his retirement and his continued rehabilitation." 

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