June 30, 2016 – Korn Ferry’s board & CEO services practice has recruited Robert W. Cook as president and chief executive officer of The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). He succeeds Richard Ketchum, who served as chairman and CEO since 2009.
Mr. Cook will join FINRA in the second half of this year from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, where he has served as a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C.., office since 2013. Prior to that, he served as director of the division of trading and markets of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from 2010 to 2013.
“Robert has a deep understanding of the securities markets, and investors will greatly benefit from his broad regulatory expertise developed as director of the SEC’s division of trading & markets, where he led the organization in establishing and maintaining standards for fair, orderly and efficient markets,” said FINRA Lead Governor Jack Brennan, former CEO of Vanguard Group.
“Having known and worked alongside Robert for several years, I know that he brings extensive expertise as one of the leading practitioners on broker-dealer and market regulation, as well as proven regulatory and leadership experience,” said Mr. Ketchum. “Robert’s appointment is the result of the board’s careful and thorough search process to identify the right leader to carry on FINRA’s important role of educating and protecting investors in the years ahead.”
Mr. Cook led the trading and markets division during a pivotal time at the SEC. “This leadership, along with his tenure with Clearly Gottlieb makes him uniquely qualified to lead FINRA—focusing on the protection of investors,” said Nels Olson, vice chairman and co-leader of Korn Ferry’s board & CEO services group. “Our practice at Korn Ferry helps companies holistically navigate and resolve challenges unique at the top to maximize effectiveness, and design, build, and lead a high-performing organization.”
“I am honored to join FINRA as CEO, and to have the opportunity to work alongside FINRA’s talented and dedicated staff in the critical role of protecting investors, as well as ensuring fair and orderly financial markets,” said Mr. Cook. “I look forward to building on Rick’s many years of excellent work and collaborating with FINRA’s board, members, and other stakeholders to strengthen investor protections, promote market integrity, and enhance FINRA’s core competencies of examinations, enforcement, rulemaking, market transparency, and market surveillance.”
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the U.S. FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services.
Over the past 20 years, Mr. Olson has completed more than 1,000 searches for a wide range of Fortune 500 companies. His executive search and board assignments span the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America, and cover multiple industries, including financial services, technology, consumer, industrial and healthcare. Recent CEO level assignments that he’s spearheaded include those for Sallie Mae, the Commissioner of the NFL, and the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Boston.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media