Chairman Christopher Cox
May 12, 2017
Christopher Cox was the 28th Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. He was appointed by President Bush on June 2, 2005, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate on July 29, 2005. He was sworn in on August 3, 2005.
During his tenure at the SEC, Chairman Cox made vigorous enforcement of the securities laws the agency's top priority, bringing ground breaking cases against a variety of market abuses including hedge fund insider trading, stock options backdating, fraud aimed at senior citizens, municipal securities fraud, and securities scams on the Internet. He assumed leadership of the international effort to more closely integrate U.S. and overseas regulation in an era of global capital markets and international securities exchanges. He also championed transforming the SEC's system of mandated disclosure from a static, form-based approach to one that taps the power of interactive data to give investors qualitatively better information about companies, mutual funds, and investments of all kinds. In addition, as part of an overall focus on the needs of individual investors, Chairman Cox reinvigorated the agency's initiative to provide important investor information in plain English.
For 10 of his 17 years in Congress, Chairman Cox served in the Majority Leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was Chairman of the House Policy Committee; Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security; Chairman of the Select Committee on U.S. National Security; Chairman of the Select Committee on Homeland Security (the predecessor to the permanent House Committee); Chairman of the Task Force on Capital Markets; and Chairman of the Task Force on Budget Process Reform.
In addition, he served in a leadership capacity as a senior Member of every committee with jurisdiction over investor protection and U.S. capital markets, including the House Energy and Commerce Committee (as Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee); the Financial Services Committee; the Government Reform Committee (as Vice Chairman of the full Committee); the Joint Economic Committee; and the Budget Committee.
Among the significant laws he authored were the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, which protects investors from fraudulent lawsuits, and the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which protects Internet users from multiple and discriminatory taxation. His legislative efforts to eliminate the double tax on shareholder dividends — the subject of a thesis he authored at Harvard University in 1977 — led to the enactment in May 2003 of legislation that cut the double tax by more than half.
Chairman Cox also served as Co-Chairman of the Bipartisan Study Group on Enhancing Multilateral Export Controls, which published a unanimous report in 2001. In 1994 he was appointed by President Clinton to the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform, which published its unanimous report in 1995.
From 1986 until 1988, Chairman Cox served in the White House as Senior Associate Counsel to the President. In that capacity, he advised the President on a wide range of matters, including the nomination of three U.S. Supreme Court Justices, reform of the federal budget process, and the 1987 stock market crash.
From 1978 to 1986, he specialized in venture capital and corporate finance with the international law firm of Latham & Watkins, where he was the partner in charge of the Corporate Department in Orange County and a member of the firm's national management.
In 1982-83, Chairman Cox took a leave of absence from Latham & Watkins to teach federal income tax at Harvard Business School. He also co-founded Context Corporation, publisher of the English translation of the Soviet Union's daily newspaper, Pravda. In 1977-78, he was law clerk to U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Herbert Choy.
In 1977, Chairman Cox simultaneously received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an Editor of the Harvard Law Review. He received a B.A. from the University of Southern California in 1973, graduating magna cum laude after pursuing an accelerated three-year course.
Chairman Cox was born October 16, 1952, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He and his wife Rebecca have three children.