Samantha Ross to Leave the PCAOB After 15 Years

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board announced today that Samantha E. Ross is leaving the PCAOB.

Ms. Ross was one of a handful of staff who opened the PCAOB's doors in January 2003. Over the last 15 years, as the PCAOB grew to more than 800 employees, she played an integral role in the establishment, growth, management and direction of the PCAOB.

Ms. Ross was the PCAOB's first chief of staff, serving in that role throughout the term of Chairman William J. McDonough. She has been special counsel to Chairman James R. Doty since he joined the PCAOB in February 2011. She also served as the top staffer to former Board Member Charles D. Niemeier, including during his time as acting chairman.

"Sam Ross's career at the PCAOB has shown in full measure her extraordinary gifts of character, intellect, loyalty and commitment to the public good," said Chairman James R. Doty. "Sam has directly counseled and advised the Chair of the PCAOB for a total of 10 years, and each of those chairmen benefitted tremendously from her strategic vision and tireless work. I am personally deeply grateful to her for all she has done for me during my tenure here."

In her capacity advising PCAOB chairmen, Ms. Ross had a significant role in most of the PCAOB's major policy initiatives, including development of the PCAOB's:

  • Center for Economic Analysis (now part of the Office of Economic and Risk Analysis);
  • modernization of the auditor's reporting model;
  • rule on audit transparency, providing for disclosure of engagement partners and other firms that participate in audits;
  • auditor independence initiatives, such as the PCAOB's rules prohibiting auditor involvement in designing tax shelters and other tax services;
  • Audit Committee Dialogue publication and podcast series; and,
  • annual budgets and strategic plans.

In the PCAOB's first year, Ms. Ross also played a key role in developing a plan for a joint inspection regime in negotiation with representatives of the European Commission. That work laid the foundation for the PCAOB's bilateral agreements with 20 audit regulators in Europe and elsewhere with whom it continues to conduct joint inspections. She also testified on behalf of the PCAOB before the Financial Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives on that dialogue with non-U.S. regulators.

"It has been an honor to work with PCAOB chairmen and Board members, and with incredibly talented and deeply committed colleagues at the PCAOB, to establish a robust system of independent auditor oversight to protect investors in U.S. capital markets," Ms. Ross said. "I have seen firsthand that independent auditor oversight has led to significant improvement in the quality of audits and has greatly enhanced investor protection."

Before joining the PCAOB, Ms. Ross was special counsel to the chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Division of Enforcement. Earlier in her career, Ms. Ross was a law clerk to the Hon. John E. Sprizzo, federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and an associate at the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell. Ms. Ross is a graduate of Duke Law School and Cornell University College of Arts & Sciences.