General Counsel Kenneth Lench to Leave the PCAOB
James Cappoli has been appointed Acting General Counsel
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) today announced that General Counsel Kenneth Lench will leave the PCAOB after more than three years of service. Deputy General Counsel James Cappoli has been appointed Acting General Counsel effective upon Mr. Lench’s departure.
The PCAOB’s General Counsel provides legal services and advice about all PCAOB operations and manages the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) to execute the organization's statutory mandate.
Mr. Lench joined the PCAOB as General Counsel in February 2020. During his tenure, OGC supported the key priorities of the Board designed to improve audit quality, including modernizing auditing standards, enhancing inspections, and strengthening enforcement. As General Counsel, Mr. Lench reorganized and expanded the size of OGC so that it could better provide legal services to the organization.
Additionally, under Mr. Lench’s leadership, OGC represented the Board in litigation and regulatory matters, assisted the Board in launching its advisory groups, and led key Board rulemakings. One such rulemaking entailed crafting a rule related to the execution of PCAOB’s responsibilities under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act. The adoption of the PCAOB’s rule helped pave the way for the PCAOB to inspect and investigate registered public accounting firms in mainland China and Hong Kong completely, consistent with U.S. law.
“We thank Ken for his distinguished service at the PCAOB, and we wish him well in his next chapter,” said Chair Erica Y. Williams. “James Cappoli’s outstanding legal experience is a great asset for our organization, and we are grateful he will serve in an Acting capacity as we begin the search for a new permanent General Counsel.”
“It has been an honor to serve and advance the PCAOB’s important mission of investor protection,” said Mr. Lench.
Before being named Acting General Counsel, Mr. Cappoli was a Deputy General Counsel in OGC. He joined the PCAOB in September 2022 from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), where he spent more than 14 years in the Office of the General Counsel, most recently as the Assistant General Counsel for Enforcement Matters. During his tenure at the SEC, Mr. Cappoli also served as Senior Advisor to an SEC Acting Chair and previously as Special Counsel to an SEC Commissioner.
“The PCAOB has an exceptional group of professionals in the Office of the General Counsel,” said Mr. Cappoli. “I look forward to leading the talented OGC team during this period.”
Prior to joining the SEC, Mr. Cappoli was an Enforcement Attorney at the Massachusetts Securities Division with the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where he was responsible for investigating and litigating state securities laws violations. He earned a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in business with honors from Indiana University, Kelly School of Business.
Mr. Cappoli’s appointment comes as the PCAOB continues work on the most ambitious standard-setting agenda in the organization’s history. The PCAOB is also advancing an ambitious agenda to update the organization’s own rules, with projects focused on enhancing investor transparency and enforcement of PCAOB rules and standards.
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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