SEC Accounting Oversight Appointments Seen for Friday

October 24, 2002 ( - The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was expected to vote at a Friday open meeting to choose the members of a new national accounting oversight board, Reuters reported, quoting unnamed sources.

William Webster, former head of both the FBI and CIA, was seen as the front-runner to be named chairman, likely edging out pension fund chief John Biggs, Reuters said. (See  Pitt Support of TIAA-CREF’s Biggs Reported Weakened ). The SEC’s five members were deeply divided on the question.

With a Monday deadline for selection fast approaching, sources said the five-member SEC might cast a split vote for the chairmanship of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

The prospect of a 3-2 or 4-1 vote was viewed as giving a rocky start to the accounting board as it begins to carry out orders from Congress to crack down on accountants after months of scandals ranging from Enron Corp. to WorldCom.

The SEC scheduled the Friday meeting without announcing an agenda. An SEC spokesman declined further comment to Reuters.

Reuters said Webster and Biggs could not be reached.