The SEC is trying to get the appointment of a chairperson to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) right this time. A GAO report (No 03-339) was a searing indictment of the SEC and the process used to arrive at the previous ill-conceived selection of William Webster as the short-lived chairperson of the PCAOB. He resigned by the first meeting.

So now, the SEC has decided in a release that provides in excruciating detail about how it will now go about selecting a chairperson and basically has put out an engraved invitation for anyone who wants to submit a resume. It some ways it reminds me of the auditions for American Idol.

The plan calls for the SEC Chairman, the SEC Commissioners, and the SEC staff to reach out and solicit input from a variety of sources, including key members of Congress, investor advocates, academics, and members of the business community. On March 4th, the SEC encouraged anyone to nominate interested, qualified individuals by submitting "a current resume, a brief (one-page or less) summary of qualifications and names of at least three references."

Once the list of candidates is narrowed, there will be a preliminary vetting process. Upon completion, each member of the Commission will interview the leading candidates and a thorough background review will be completed. Following this review and consultation with the Federal Reserve Chairman and Treasury Secretary, the Commission will vote to approve the appointment of a chairperson.

The only problem is that nominations must be in by Friday, March 14th. So those of you who are interested should send the requested information by fax to 202-942-9555; by e-mail to; or by overnight mail, to the attention of Susan Ferris Wyderko, Director, Office of Investor Education and Assistance, 450 5th Street NW, Washington, DC 20549-0213.

One departing observation. The SEC, in addition to reciting the statutory criteria that is set forth in the "Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002," gives some other criteria that it would consider desirable, although not mandatory in the candidate. The two that I love are "be independent from any particular constituency" and "have no known impediments or controversies that might impair his or her ability to lead, or the public's ability to rely on the individual to lead, the PCAOB." Maybe they should be mandatory.

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