Columbia Law School Professor Harvey Goldschmid, a renowned corporate governance expert who served as a commissioner and the top attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission, died this week from complications from pneumonia.

Goldschmid joined the Columbia Law School faculty in 1970 and became the Dwight Professor of Law in 1984. "He was the model law professor, combining real world experience and transactional sense with a strong understanding of economic theory,” said Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee. “Students adored him, practitioners respected him, and government agencies depended on him. We will not soon see his like again.”

“Harvey was an accomplished man of considerable talents who touched many lives throughout his illustrious career,” said SEC Chair Mary Jo White. “His dedication to Columbia University School of Law and its students was inspiring.”

Goldschmid also was a dedicated public servant. He served as general counsel for the SEC from 1998 to 1999, as special senior adviser to then Chairman Arthur Levitt in 2000, and as a Commissioner for the agency from 2002 to 2005. In 1999, he received the Chairman’s Award for Excellence.  

Among his many accomplishments at the SEC, Goldschmid served as the primary architect of Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure). He also promoted the importance of auditor independence through the Commission’s rulemaking efforts and spearheaded the Commission’s efforts to improve audit committee disclosures.

Goldschmid advocated strongly for shareholders and defended the SEC’s efforts to curtail corporate fraud, including through the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. After he left the SEC a second time, Goldschmid returned to Columbia Law School, where he taught antitrust and trade regulation, a seminar in non-profit institutions, and corporate and securities law.

Goldschmid additionally served in numerous other notable roles, including as a consultant on antitrust policy to the Federal Trade Commission; a member of the Federal Trade Commission's Task Force on High Tech/Innovation Issues; a public governor and chair of the Regulatory Policy Committee of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA); a trustee of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation; a director of the National Center on Philanthropy and the Law; a director of Transparency International-USA; and a vice chair of the Center for Audit Quality.

“He was a true public servant, whose commitment to this agency lived long past the days he spent working here,” White added. “The SEC mourns the loss of one of its own. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Harvey’s family and loved ones.”

Goldschmid is survived by three sons and his wife, Mary.