William R. Baker III, Associate Director of Enforcement, to Leave Commission
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC, November 21, 2002 -- The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that William R. Baker III, Associate Director of the Division of Enforcement, will leave the SEC to return to the private sector. Baker most recently spearheaded the SEC's investigation of WorldCom Inc., leading to the filing of charges against the company within 24 hours of its announcement that its financial statements were overstated.
"There is no one who better represents the traditions and values of the Commission's enforcement program than Bill Baker," said Stephen M. Cutler, Director of the Division of the Enforcement. "He has brought an acute sense of fairness and justice, as well as enormous dedication, tireless effort and great intellect, to his work on behalf of the investing public. We will miss him greatly."
"For the past 15 years, I've had the extraordinary good fortune to work with some of the most dedicated and talented people in government service," Baker said. "The critical work of the SEC staff in safeguarding our capital markets and protecting investors has made my experience here, both professionally and personally, rewarding beyond all my expectations."
Baker joined the SEC's Enforcement Division in 1987. As Assistant Director for Municipal Securities investigations, he played a leading role in the SEC's efforts to reform that market. During his tenure, the SEC brought more than 100 enforcement actions charging municipal market participants.
Baker was named Associate Director of the Enforcement Division in 1997. He has been responsible for a number of major enforcement initiatives, including actions against Bear Stearns Securities Corp., for violations while clearing for A.R. Baron & Co., a notorious microcap firm; Austrian hedge fund manager Michael Berger, who defrauded clients of $400 million; Cleveland stockbroker Frank Gruttadauria; and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, for auditor independence violations. Baker led the negotiations on behalf of the federal government, including the Commission, that resulted in 21 securities firms paying a total of $195 million to resolve charges of illegal mark-ups on government securities. He also led numerous investigations and actions involving insider trading, sales practice abuses at broker dealers and financial fraud.
He has received several awards, including the SEC's Stanley Sporkin Award for outstanding contributions to the enforcement program and the SEC's 2001 Law and Policy Award.
Baker is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the Georgetown University Law Center. Prior to joining the SEC, he was an associate with the Washington, D.C., office of Baker & Hostetler and clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Douglas W. Hillman in Grand Rapids, Mich.