This week, several leading financial publications reported that SEC Commissioner Daniel Gallagher will be departing the agency earlier than expected. The WSJ reports that Gallagher has "notified the White House of his plans to leave the five-member agency as soon as a successor is confirmed by the Senate." Gallagher's five-year term as commissioner does not officially end until June 2016.
Gallagher may now end up leaving the SEC at roughly the same time as his fellow commissioner, Luis Aguilar. Aguilar has been a commissioner at the SEC since 2008, and his term expires in June 2015. It is unclear whether Aguilar will agree to stay on past June if his successor has not yet been confirmed by the Senate.
The search for Commissioner Aguilar's successor is already underway, with leading candidates reportedly including Keir Gumbs, a corporate lawyer at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C.; and Philip Khinda, a partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, D.C. At Covington, Gumbs is in the firm's Corporate department and serves as vice chair of the Securities and Capital Markets Practice Group. Previously, Gumbs served as Counsel to SEC Commissioner Roel C. Campos, and as a Special Counsel in the Office of Chief Counsel in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance.
Khinda is the co-head of Steptoe's SEC enforcement practice. He is known for his representation of institutions and corporate boards, including CalPERS, the nation's largest state pension fund, on various securities matters. Khinda is vice chair of the ABA's Corporate Governance Committee, and chair of its Special Committees and Investigations Subcommittee. Previously, Khinda served with the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.