The Securities and Exchange Commission has appointed James L. Kroeker as chief accountant.

Kroeker will replace Conrad Hewitt, who retired from government service in January, when Kroeker became acting chief accountant. He served as staff director of the SEC’s congressionally mandated study of fair value accounting standards, which concluded that mark-to-market accounting standards were not responsible for the financial crisis. He has also led the efforts of the Office of the Chief Accountant to address the current economic turmoil, including steps to improve off-balance-sheet accounting standards.

SEC Chair Mary Schapiro appointed Kroeker, and was also said to be considering Jack Ciesielski, publisher of the Analyst’s Accounting Observer, and Charles Niemeier, a member of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

“The financial crisis has highlighted once again the importance of transparent and high-quality financial reporting to investors,” said Kroeker in a statement. “I am honored by the opportunity to continue working with Chairman Schapiro, the other commissioners and the outstanding staff of the Office of the Chief Accountant as we continue our efforts to protect the investing public.”

Kroeker joined the SEC as deputy chief accountant in February 2007 from Deloitte and Touche LLP, where he had been a partner in the firm’s National Office Accounting Services Group. Kroeker also served as a practice fellow at the Financial Accounting Standards Board, where he assisted in the development of accounting guidance.

Reaction was favorable from the accounting community. “In his current role as acting chief accountant and his prior position of deputy chief accountant, Jim has consistently demonstrated his commitment to investors and the capital markets through efforts to improve financial reporting and reduce the complexity of financial disclosure,” said Center for Audit Quality executive director Cindy Fornelli in a statement.

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