Robert Cook

Robert Cook

FINRA Names Washington Lawyer Robert Cook New CEO

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has named Washington-based securities lawyer, Robert Cook, as its new president and chief executive officer, the regulator said on Monday.

Cook, a partner at law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, also headed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Division of Trading and Markets from 2010 to 2013. He will succeed FINRA's retiring chairman and chief executive, Richard Ketchum, during the second half of 2016, FINRA said.

FINRA's board of governors intends to name a new chairman in the coming months, FINRA said.

The SEC section that Cook oversaw is responsible for regulatory policy and oversight for broker-dealers, securities exchanges and markets, and FINRA.

While head of the section, Cook directed a review of the May 6, 2010 flash crash, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly plunged more than 1,000 points, temporarily wiping out nearly $1 trillion in market value, FINRA said.

"I am honored to join FINRA as CEO, and to have the opportunity to work alongside FINRA's talented and dedicated staff in the critical role of protecting investors, as well as ensuring fair and orderly financial markets," Cook said in a statement.

Cook worked at Cleary Gottlieb for 11 years prior to joining the SEC, FINRA said. He received his law degree from Harvard Law School.

In October, FINRA announced Ketchum's plans to retire. Ketchum has led the regulatory body since March 2009, when its former chief, Mary Schapiro, left to head the SEC. (Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Chris Reese)

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