SEC grabs Latham partner as new GC

Latham & Watkins has lost securities heavyweight Brian Cartwright to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) following the high profile resignation of the regulator’s former general counsel late last year.

Cartwright, previously a partner and chair of public companies at Latham, succeeds Giovanni Prezioso as general counsel for the SEC, following his announcement in November of his intention to return to the private sector.

Prezioso had been general counsel at the SEC since April 2002, during which time he had overseen the implementation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act which saw the US regulator overhaul corporate governance regulations following the fallout from the Enron scandal.

Despite his achievements, Prezioso was criticised for the SEC’s rulemaking process following a legal challenge by the US Chamber of Commerce to the SEC’s requirement for mutual funds’ boards of directors to have independent chairmen and a majority of independent directors.

Prezioso is understood to now be in discussions to return to his former firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

Cartwright will join the SEC as general counsel on 23 January, where he will report to SEC chairman Christopher Cox, who was also a partner at Latham in the 1980s.

While at Latham, Cartwright’s clients included biotechnology group Amgen, gaming and hotel company Aztar Corporation, and electricity generator manufacturer Capstone Turbine Corporation.

Before turning to securities law, he was an astrophysicist with the University of California at Berkeley.