PCAOB hires new CFO amid internal turmoil

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has brought in Holly Greaves, a former CFO at the Environmental Protection Agency, as its new CFO, but not publicly announced the move.

“Holly was approved by the board as a corporate officer,” confirmed PCAOB spokesperson Torrie Matous.

In her previous job, she had worked under former EPA chief Scott Pruitt as his senior advisor for budget and audit. Pruitt departed the agency last year amid a cascade of scandals. Greaves’ employees reportedly destroyed EPA records that were under audit, according to a memo from the EPA Inspector General.

Before joining the EPA, she was a senior manager at KPMG, according to Thomson Reuters' Accounting & Compliance Alert, which reported the hire on Friday, along with the hiring of Anna Shelby, the granddaughter of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, in an entry-level position as a project coordinator.

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The PCAOB has been in the midst of a series of dramatic changes in board composition and staff. Earlier this month, it replaced board member Kathleen Hamm with Rebekah Goshorn Jurata, a special assistant to the president for financial policy on the White House’s National Economic Council, even though Hamm had served on the board for less than two years (see SEC replaces PCAOB board member with White House aide). Hamm and the other PCAOB board members arrived in 2018 when SEC chairman Jay Clayton and the other commissioners decided to bring in a new chairman, William Duhnke, and a fresh new set of board members in the wake of a scandal involving a PCAOB official giving KPMG information ahead of time about an upcoming PCAOB inspection.

Dozens of PCAOB officials and staff have been laid off or resigned in the past two years, and the board has failed to hold any meetings this year of its Standing Advisory Group or Investor Advisory Group. Matous said the PCAOB would have some open meetings next year, including one to approve its budget.

The board has reportedly failed to hire a new director of enforcement or a general counsel to replace the officials who departed. In a first, a specific SEC commissioner, Hester Peirce, was named by Clayton to oversee the PCAOB along with SEC chief accountant Sagar Teotia.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Jack Reed, D-R.I., sent a letter to Clayton expressing concern about the PCAOB after a Wall Street Journal article last week reported that a whistleblower complaint had been filed and that the number of audit firm inspections had declined. “The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the PCAOB has been compromised by ‘internal feuding and personnel issues,’ resulting in a disturbing whistleblower complaint,” they wrote. “In addition, the SEC’s recent oversight of the PCAOB shows questionable judgment and an alarming lack of transparency.”

Brown and Reed criticized the recent decline in audit inspection reports and vacant senior staff positions. “These positions are critical for the PCAOB to carry out its mandate,” they wrote. “These vacancies hinder the PCAOB’s ability to conduct meaningful oversight and enforcement, and prolonged vacancies undermine the long-term effectiveness of the PCAOB.”

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