The Securities and Exchange Commission’s new chairman, Gary Gensler, has made several new appointments that experts say suggest the agency will take a more progressive turn.
Gensler — who was confirmed last week to head the agency — has named Prashant Yerramalli as chief of staff, Heather Slavkin Corzo as policy director, Kevin Burris as counselor to the chair and director of the office of legislative and intergovernmental affairs and Scott Schneider as counselor to the chair and director of the office of public affairs, the SEC says.
Yerramalli has held the role of chief of staff since January under Acting Chair Allison Herren Lee and will continue acting as a senior advisor now to Gensler, according to the agency. Previously, Yerramalli held various other positions at the SEC, including in the division of enforcement and in the office of former commissioner Robert Jackson, the SEC says. Outside the agency, he worked as a law clerk to the Hon. Naomi Reice Buchwald in the Southern District of New York as well as at Brookfield Asset Management and law firms Jenner & Block and WilmerHale, according to the SEC.
Corzo is tasked with overseeing policy experts advising Gensler on rulemaking, the regulator says. She previously served as director of capital markets policy at the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, head of U.S. policy at the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment network and a senior fellow at Americans for Financial Reform, the SEC says. Corzo also served as director of the AFL-CIO’s office of investment as well as the group’s senior legal and policy advisor, according to the SEC. She also worked as assistant counsel at BISYS Fund Services, the regulator says.
Burris previously served as director of the subcommittee on oversight and investigations for the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, according to the SEC. Schneider previously served as the managing director of financial communications at consulting firm Ketchum, the regulator says.
The first round of appointments — particularly Corzo’s appointment as policy director — suggests that the agency under Gensler is likely to pursue a progressive agenda, according to the Wall Street Journal.
While she was with the AFL-CIO, Corzo wrote or appeared in front of lawmakers to support stricter rules on private equity and stock buybacks and to force companies to open their boards to representatives of their workers, according to the publication. And the role of policy director never existed prior to Corzo’s appointment, the Journal writes.
“She has very significant relationships with investors, union leaders and public interest advocates — many of which were very supportive of Gensler’s appointment,” Tyler Gellasch, a former regulator and current executive director of investor group Healthy Markets, tells the Journal. “She knows very well what those groups are hoping to see out of the SEC, and the yardsticks against which Gensler’s tenure will be measured.”