Friday, October 31, 2014

SEC Notes Passing of Former Chair Hills, Champion of Strong Corporate Governance

Former SEC Chair Roderick Hills, a strong proponent of sound corporate governance, has passed away. In a statement, SEC Chair Mary Jo White praised Chairman Hills as a true champion for America’s investors. The SEC has lost a strong leader and friend, she noted. Roderick Hills served with distinction as SEC Chairman from 1975 to 1977.

His lifelong commitment to sound corporate governance was strong and consistent. For example, in 2006, Mr. Hills chaired a subcommittee on corporate governance as part of an effort by the Committee for Economic Development to restore public trust in U.S. corporations. The Committee issued a report addressing corporate governance issues that then SEC Chair Christopher Cox said was of vital importance to the SEC's mission of investor protection.

As part of his commitment to corporate governance, former Chair Hills was a strong proponent of independent audit committees. In 2002, in the run up to the passage of the landmark Sarbanes-Oxley Act, he testified before the Senate Banking Committee and urged Congress to clarify that audit committees have the responsibility of protecting the independence of the outside auditors of company financial statements. He noted that appointment to an audit committee is not a "passive assignment."