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Robert Stebbins to Conclude Tenure as SEC General Counsel


Washington D.C., Dec. 8, 2020 —

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Robert B. Stebbins will conclude his tenure as General Counsel in early January, after serving over three and a half years as the agency's chief legal officer.

During his tenure, Mr. Stebbins led the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), which includes over 150 professionals and is responsible for supporting a wide range of key functions across the agency. The office advises on all rulemaking, guidance and other Commission and staff policy matters; advises on all Commission enforcement actions; litigates non-enforcement matters and appeals on behalf of the agency; advises on matters related to the Commission's budget, real estate leasing, intellectual property disputes, personnel and EEO proceedings, and labor relations and collective bargaining; and prepares Commission opinions in adjudications heard by the Commission. OGC also provides legal analysis and advice to the Commission, to the individual Commissioners and to the Commission’s five divisions and 24 offices as to the federal securities laws, administrative laws and other laws that affect independent agencies and as to judicial, legislative and other developments affecting the Commission's mission and operations.

"Bob's leadership has been invaluable to the Commission's success during the past several years on all issues important to our Main Street investors and our markets," said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. "From our historically high number of rulemakings, to hundreds of cases before our federal courts, to our thousands of enforcement actions, under Bob's direction, OGC has consistently provided well-grounded, thoughtful and pragmatic advice and counsel to the Commission. Additionally, Bob's insight, wisdom and legal acumen have helped the Commission navigate a range of novel and complex issues—from implementing legislative directives and judicial orders, to operational challenges, to responding to the market effects of COVID-19. Bob did all this while promoting an inclusive, positive and opportunity-oriented atmosphere throughout OGC and the rest of the Commission."

"From all that I had known about the SEC before I started this role, I thought it would be challenging, fulfilling and interesting work. The reality has far exceeded my expectations," said Mr. Stebbins. "Leading the women and men of the Office of the General Counsel, working with the Chairman and other members of SEC leadership on a daily basis, and interacting with such talented staff across the agency have made this the job of a lifetime."

Mr. Stebbins' departure comes after a particularly busy and productive period at the agency. Mr. Stebbins led OGC during one of the most active and wide-ranging rule calendars in the agency's history, advising on more than 85 rules, as well as advising on hundreds of Commission and staff orders and other interpretive releases.

In addition, since May 2017, OGC has litigated over 120 matters in the federal appellate courts (including, in conjunction with the Office of the Solicitor General, four matters in the U.S. Supreme Court), with the Commission being victorious in more than 93% of these cases.

OGC has also worked closely with the SEC's Enforcement Division, providing day-to-day guidance on enforcement recommendations and litigation matters, resulting in the Commission bringing over 2,750 enforcement actions and obtaining over $14 billion in disgorgement and penalties since May 2017.

Further, during Mr. Stebbins' tenure, the Commission has issued over 50 opinions (each prepared by OGC) in adjudications heard by the Commission and on appeal from administrative law judges, securities exchanges, FINRA, and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, with each opinion approved unanimously by the Commissioners.

During the spring of 2020, Mr. Stebbins was detailed to the Department of the Treasury to advise on the CARES Act implementation relating to air carriers, ticket agents and national security businesses, while at the same time continuing to function as the Commission's General Counsel. In August 2020, Mr. Stebbins received the Secretary of the Treasury's Honor Award for this service.

Importantly, Mr. Stebbins fostered a collegial and supportive atmosphere in OGC. In the 2018 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, OGC ranked as the fifth best place to work out of 415 Federal government offices.

Prior to joining the Commission, Mr. Stebbins practiced law at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP beginning in 1993, first as an associate and beginning in 2001 as a partner. At Willkie, Mr. Stebbins focused on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital, investment funds, and capital markets transactions. He also advised clients on SEC compliance issues and corporate governance matters.

Mr. Stebbins earned a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. from Central Michigan University, where he was an Academic All-American football player. He is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, the American Bar Association, and the New York City Bar Association.

Michael Conley, currently the SEC's Solicitor, will serve as Acting General Counsel upon Mr. Stebbins' departure.


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