January 17, 2020

SEC Commissioner Jackson to Step Down

Yesterday, Reuters reported (along with other outlets) that SEC Commissioner Rob Jackson will be stepping down on February 14th to return to his faculty post at the NYU School of Law. Rob’s term expired last June, so this has been expected for a while. Here’s a statement from SEC Chair Jay Clayton.

We don’t have a definite timeline for Jackson’s successor, but it’s expected that the White House will nominate Caroline Crenshaw – who’s currently an attorney in Rob’s office – to fill his seat (see this Cooley blog).  Depending on how long it takes to confirm his successor, the SEC may be down to four Commissioners for a while after Rob’s departure.

“Top 10” Risks for 2020

This “risk barometer” report from Allianz identifies “top 10” risks for 2020 – as well as the macro trends behind those risks, which companies should watch.  It’s based on responses from over 2,700 risk management professionals and is a helpful read, especially in light of SEC Enforcement’s focus on “hypothetical risk factors” – which I blogged about on Tuesday. Here’s an excerpt – see the full 23-page report for more (as well as my blog from yesterday on risk factor disclosure trends):

Cyber risk tops the list for the first time with businesses facing a number of challenges such as larger and costlier data breaches, more ransomware incidents and the increasing prospect of litigation after an event. The playing out of political differences in cyber space also ups the ante while even a successful M&A can result in unexpected problems.

Further down on the list was new technologies.  The report says that while new technologies present opportunities, they can also bring considerable risk.  Technologies identified as coming with the greatest risk potential include artificial intelligence, digital platforms, internet of things/smart objects, autonomous vehicles and digital assistance systems/virtual reality.

Tuesday’s Webcast: “Deciphering ‘Corporate Purpose'”

Tune in Tuesday, January 21 for the webcast – “Deciphering ‘Corporate Purpose'” – to hear Morrow’s John Wilcox, Freshfields Bruckhaus’ Pam Marcogliese and Morris Nichols’ Tricia Vella discuss the debate over “shareholder primacy” – including what it means for directors’ fiduciary duties and disclosure.

– Lynn Jokela