The head of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Enforcement Division abruptly resigned for personal reasons Wednesday after less than one full week on the job.
Alex Oh stepped down from the post following criticism of her role in a class-action lawsuit against ExxonMobil filed on behalf of a group of Indonesian citizens, according to multiple reports, including Politico. A federal judge Monday reprimanded Oh and others from law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison for their conduct in representing ExxonMobil in the case.
Oh, in a resignation letter, said she didn’t want the case to be a distraction for the SEC.
Oh was named director of the Division of Enforcement on April 22. With her departure, Melissa Hodgman will resume leading the division as acting director.
“Melissa is an exceptional attorney who has proven to be an effective leader of the Enforcement Division. I’m grateful that she will take on this role again and look forward to working closely with her to fulfill the mission of the SEC,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler in a press release. “I thank Alex for her willingness to serve the country at this important time.”
Oh was one of Gensler’s first major appointments following his confirmation on April 14. She was joining the SEC from Paul Weiss, where she served as co-chair of the law firm’s Anti-Corruption & Foreign Corrupt Practices Act practice group.
With Oh’s departure, the revolving door atop the SEC’s Enforcement Division resumes. Co-Director Steven Peikin stepped down in August 2020, followed by his counterpart Stephanie Avakian departing in December. Marc Berger took over as acting head of enforcement for a month before leaving a week prior to President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Hodgman was named acting director on Jan. 22 and held the role until Oh’s appointment.