Conrad W. Hewitt, a former Big Four managing partner and commissioner of California's department of financial institutions and superintendent of banking for the state, is expected to be named the chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to published reports, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox will make the appointment official soon. The position has been open since last fall when Donald Nicolaisen, a former PwC partner, elected to return to the private sector. Scott Taub, the longest serving of the SEC's deputy chief accountants, has served as acting chief accountant since November.

Hewitt has served on the boards of a handful of public and private companies, chairing the audit committee of some of them, since leaving his posts in state government in the late 1990s. Among those companies have been Palo Alto, Calif.-based Varian Inc., a manufacturer of scientific instruments; San Diego's Retirement Capital Group Inc., an executive benefits firm; and the San Antonio-based beer maker, Pabst Brewing Co.

A CPA, Hewitt spent more than 30 years with Ernst & Young, working in Honolulu, the Pacific Northwest and northern California, before retiring from the firm in 1995 as a managing partner.

Previously on WebCPA:

Nicolaisen: 'We Need to Get This Right' (May 22, 2006)

SEC Names Acting Chief Accountant (Nov. 15, 2005)SEC's Top Accountant to Leave for Private Sector (Sept. 7, 2005)

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