Two members of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) have announced they will resign, meaning the organization could soon be left with one active member ahead of a planned overhaul by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Rebekah Goshorn Jurata and Megan Zietsman announced Monday their intention to leave Oct. 1 or when other members are appointed by the SEC to replace them—whichever comes first. Under Sarbanes-Oxley, the SEC oversees the PCAOB, selecting its members and its chair.
“While it has been an honor to serve as board members of the PCAOB and a privilege to work alongside our dedicated staff to advance our important mission, neither of us applied to be considered by the Commission for the Board seats that we currently hold,” they wrote in a joint statement.
In June, SEC Chair Gary Gensler removed then-PCAOB Chairman William Duhnke III and announced the agency would seek new candidates to fill all five positions at the PCAOB. The search is to be led by the SEC’s Office of the Chief Accountant.
Duane DesParte was elevated to be acting chair, and because of a vacancy, the five-member PCAOB had only three active members. DesParte’s term is set to end in 2023, while Jurata (2024) and Zietsman (2025) will depart well ahead of schedule.
Gensler did not provide a reason for the full PCAOB overhaul, though Democrats and other progressives have stated their belief the audit regulator hasn’t done enough to protect investors. Duhnke was also the subject of a discrimination lawsuit filed by the board’s former chief risk officer, Sue Lee, in April.
Lee claimed she was fired as part of a “racist and xenophobic campaign” against her by Duhnke that was based on “her Asian ethnicity, Chinese national origin, and political affiliation with the Democratic Party in violation of the D.C. Human Rights Act.”
In June, Duhnke filed his response and a counterclaim to Lee’s lawsuit, denying her allegations and asking the court to order Lee to repay the PCAOB for travel and personal expenses incurred during her employment.
Each side has requested a jury trial.