FINRA Announces CEO Transition
Taps Former SEC Director of the Division of Trading and Markets
WASHINGTON — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) today announced that its Board of Governors has concluded the CEO search, and appointed Robert W. Cook as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective the second half of 2016. Mr. Cook will succeed Richard G. Ketchum, who has served as Chairman and CEO since 2009. The Board intends to name a new Chairman in the coming months.
Mr. Cook will join FINRA from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, where he has served as a partner in the firm’s Washington, DC, office since June 2013. While at Cleary Gottlieb, he has focused on the regulation of securities markets and market intermediaries, including broker-dealers, exchanges, alternative trading systems and clearing agencies. Prior to joining Cleary Gottlieb, Mr. Cook served as the Director of the Division of Trading and Markets (Division) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from 2010 to 2013. Under his direction, the Division’s 250 professionals were responsible for regulatory policy and oversight with respect to broker-dealers, securities exchanges and markets, clearing agencies and FINRA. He also directed the staff’s review of equity market structure and its analysis of the Flash Crash of May 6, 2010. Prior to joining the SEC, Mr. Cook served as a partner at Cleary Gottlieb since 2001, and joined the firm in 1992.
“Robert has a deep understanding of the securities markets, and investors will greatly benefit from his broad regulatory expertise developed as Director of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets, where he led the organization in establishing and maintaining standards for fair, orderly and efficient markets,” said FINRA Lead Governor Jack Brennan, former CEO of Vanguard Group. “We thank Rick for his terrific leadership as FINRA’s Chairman and CEO, and express our gratitude on behalf of all investors for his decades of service.”
“Having known and worked alongside Robert for several years, I know that he brings extensive expertise as one of the leading practitioners on broker-dealer and market regulation, as well as proven regulatory and leadership experience,” said Mr. Ketchum. “Robert’s appointment is the result of the Board’s careful and thorough search process to identify the right leader to carry on FINRA’s important role of educating and protecting investors in the years ahead. It has been my honor and privilege to lead this extraordinary organization.”
“I am honored to join FINRA as CEO, and to have the opportunity to work alongside FINRA’s talented and dedicated staff in the critical role of protecting investors, as well as ensuring fair and orderly financial markets,” said Mr. Cook. “I look forward to building on Rick’s many years of excellent work and collaborating with FINRA’s Board, members and other stakeholders to strengthen investor protections, promote market integrity and enhance FINRA’s core competencies of examinations, enforcement, rulemaking, market transparency and market surveillance.”
About Robert Cook
Robert W. Cook most recently served as a partner in Cleary Gottlieb’s Washington, DC, office, which he joined in June 2013. There, Mr. Cook focused on the regulation of securities markets and market intermediaries, including broker-dealers, exchanges, alternative trading systems and clearing agencies. Robert served as the Director of the Division of Trading and Markets of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from 2010 to 2013. Under his direction, the Division’s 250 professionals were responsible for regulatory policy and oversight with respect to broker-dealers, securities exchanges and markets, clearing agencies and FINRA. In addition, the Division reviewed and acted on over 2,000 rule filings and new product listings each year from self-regulatory organizations, including the securities exchanges and FINRA; and was responsible for implementing more than 30 major rulemakings and studies generated by the Dodd-Frank and JOBS Acts. Prior to joining the SEC, Mr. Cook served as a partner at Cleary Gottlieb since 2001, and joined the firm in 1992. During his years of private practice, Mr. Cook worked extensively on broker-dealer regulatory matters, advising large and small firms on a wide range of compliance questions. Mr. Cook graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in Social Studies in 1988 from Harvard College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his Master of Science with distinction in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the London School of Economics in 1989. Mr. Cook received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1992.
About the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services. FINRA touches virtually every aspect of the securities business – from registering and educating all industry participants to examining securities firms, writing rules, enforcing those rules and the federal securities laws, and informing and educating the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and firms. For more information, please visit www.finra.org.