Experienced Prosecutor Robert E. Rice Named Director of the PCAOB’s Division of Enforcement and Investigations
Acting DEI Director Mark A. Adler will retire from the PCAOB with 10 years of distinguished service
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) today announced the appointment of Robert E. Rice as Director of the organization’s Division of Enforcement and Investigations (DEI), effective March 31, 2023. In this role, he will oversee and direct the PCAOB’s investigations and enforcement of violations of its rules, professional standards, and other applicable securities regulations. Mr. Rice has more than 30 years of white-collar litigation and investigations experience, including in the private sector and a long history of public service in government.
Mr. Rice's appointment comes as the PCAOB has made stronger enforcement a key priority, including focusing on the kinds of cases and the level of penalties imposed.
“The PCAOB is using every tool in our enforcement toolbox to ensure there are consequences for putting investors at risk and bad actors are removed. Bob’s decades of experience holding wrongdoers accountable will be invaluable to our continued efforts to keep investors protected,” said Chair Erica Y. Williams. “Mark’s contributions to the PCAOB and to investors have been extraordinary, and we offer him gratitude and best wishes for his next chapter.”
Mr. Rice comes to the PCAOB from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, where he has served as Special Counsel since 2022. Mr. Rice also served as Chief Counsel to SEC Chair Mary Jo White from 2013 to 2015, providing legal advice and counsel on a broad range of the Commission's regulatory matters, including enforcement actions, and compliance and inspection-related matters.
Mr. Rice began his public service career as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, where he served from 1991 to 2000. As an Assistant United States Attorney, Mr. Rice investigated and prosecuted a wide range of federal crimes, including bank fraud, mail and wire fraud, money laundering, organized crime offenses, public corruption, securities fraud, and tax-related offenses. He ultimately became a Deputy Chief of the Southern District's Criminal Division, assisting in the oversight of approximately 160 federal prosecutors.
Mr. Rice also has extensive experience in the private sector, where he was a partner in law firms from 2000 to 2004 and 2015 to 2021, focusing his practice on criminal investigations and prosecutions, regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings, and internal investigations. He also served as a Managing Director and the Head of Litigation and Regulatory Investigations at a global financial institution from 2004 to 2013. Mr. Rice received his undergraduate degree from Springfield College, a master’s degree from Montclair State College, and his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law.
“The PCAOB’s enforcement program protects investors and furthers the public interest in accurate and independent audit reports by bringing accountability to those who violate auditing rules,” said Mr. Rice. “I am thankful to the Board for this opportunity to serve as the Director of DEI, and I am excited to work with the talented and hardworking PCAOB staff.”
With Mr. Rice’s appointment, Mark A. Adler – who has served as DEI’s Acting Director since September 2022 and previously held several senior roles within the division from 2010 to 2020, including Acting Director from June 2018 to January 2020 – will retire from the PCAOB.
During Mr. Adler’s 2022-2023 tenure as DEI’s Acting Director, the PCAOB announced the settlement of several major enforcement matters, including the PCAOB’s largest civil money penalty against an individual and second-largest penalty against a firm ever.
About the PCAOB
The PCAOB is a nonprofit corporation established by Congress to oversee the audits of public companies in order to protect investors and further the public interest in the preparation of informative, accurate, and independent audit reports. The PCAOB also oversees the audits of brokers and dealers, including compliance reports filed pursuant to federal securities laws.
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