We received a press release from the Securities and Exchange Commission that the Chief of the Office of the Whistleblower, Sean McKessy, is planning to leave the SEC later this month.
McKessy has been the head of the SEC whistleblower program since February 2011 and helped to establish the office. Under his leadership, the SEC has reviewed more than 14,000 whistleblower tips and paid out more than $85 million.
It has also pursued companies for whistleblower retaliation, filed numerous amicus briefs to assert the rights of internal whistleblowers to retaliation protections, and sought to change employment and separation agreements that restrict individuals from reporting federal securities law violations to the SEC.
The program was created under the authority of the Dodd-Frank Act, which required both the SEC and CFTC to pay whistleblowers rewards of between 10 and 30 percent of monetary sanctions in excess of $1 million that resulted from information provided pursuant to the program.
The Acting Chief for the program after McKessy’s last day will be Jane Norberg, the current Deputy Chief. Norberg was appointed to the office in January 2012 after 14 years of experience at her own law firm and Shearman & Sterling. Prior to private practice, she worked with confidential informants as a special agent for the U.S. Secret Service.
The IRS and CFTC whistleblower programs have both seen handovers since their creation. Last year, the first director of the IRS Whistleblower Office, Stephen Whitlock, became the Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility. Whitlock was succeeded by Lee Martin.
The CFTC whistleblower office is now led by Christopher Ehrman. Prior to his appointment in 2013, the Office’s Director was Vincent Martinez.