Washington, D.C., April 13, 2009 — Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary L. Schapiro today announced that former SEC official Meredith B. Cross will return to the agency as its new Director of the Division of Corporation Finance.
Cross will come to the SEC from the Washington, D.C. office of WilmerHale, a law firm she joined in 1998 and where she is currently a partner in the Corporate Practice Group. She previously served at the SEC for several years in the 1990s, ascending to the position of Deputy Director in the Division of Corporation Finance while playing a key role in disclosure-related rulemakings and plain English initiatives for investors.
"Meredith has clearly established herself as a sensible problem solver and a brilliant mind on corporate securities law. Her prior work both at the SEC and in the private sector has been consistently focused on advocating clear and sufficient disclosure to investors about the companies they own," said Chairman Schapiro. "We are so pleased that Meredith has agreed to leave the private sector and return to the SEC at such a critical time to serve investors and advise the Commission. She will be instrumental as we consider important issues as shareholders’ access to the proxy to nominate directors, and ways to improve the overall quality and clarity of disclosure provided to investors."
Cross said, "I am honored and grateful that Chairman Schapiro has given me the opportunity to come back to the SEC at this challenging time. Investors need to be confident that publicly-held companies provide high-quality, understandable and fair disclosure, and I have tremendous respect for the talented Division of Corporation Finance staff who work tirelessly to make sure companies live up to the full disclosure mandate on which our markets depend. I look forward to working with Chairman Schapiro, the Commission and the staff as we consider important improvements to the SEC’s proxy and disclosure requirements in order to enhance investor confidence."
The SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance oversees the disclosures made to investors by more than 12,500 public companies, including registration statements for newly-offered securities, annual and quarterly filings, and proxy materials sent to shareholders before an annual meeting.
Cross began her previous tenure at the SEC in September 1990 as an Attorney Fellow in the Office of Chief Counsel in the Division of Corporation Finance. She became the Division’s Deputy Chief Counsel in 1992 and Chief Counsel in 1993, and was responsible for no-action letters and legal interpretations in the Division on a wide range of matters. Cross then served as Associate Director of the Division’s sections on Small Business and International Corporate Finance, playing an integral role in international disclosure issues and accounting standards for use in cross-border offerings. She became Deputy Director in the Division of Corporation Finance in 1994, a position she held until she left the SEC in January 1998. Cross received the SEC’s Law and Policy Award in 1993 and 1997.
At WilmerHale, Cross has been advising clients on corporate and securities matters and has been involved with the full range of issues faced by public and private companies in capital raising and financial reporting. She has served as chair or co-chair of WilmerHale’s corporate practice group for more than seven years, first at Wilmer Cutler & Pickering and, following the firm’s merger with Hale and Dorr, at the combined firm.
Before her previous tenure at the SEC, Cross worked in private practice in the securities department of King & Spalding in Atlanta. Upon graduation from law school, she clerked for the Hon. Albert J. Henderson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She earned her undergraduate degree, cum laude, from Duke University in 1979, and her law degree in 1982 from Vanderbilt University Law School, where she was a member of the Vanderbilt Law Review and Order of the Coif. Her husband, John Joseph Cross III, is a 1981 Vanderbilt law graduate.