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SEC Names Norberg Whistleblower Office Chief

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The Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday Jane Norberg is the new chief of its Office of the Whistleblower. 

Norberg, who has served as acting chief since Sean McKessy left in July, joined the SEC in 2012 as the first deputy chief of the whistleblower office, which she helped set up in 2011.

“In its short history, our whistleblower program has had a transformative impact on our agency, and Jane has played a significant role as deputy of the Office of the Whistleblower,” said Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, in a statement. “I am proud of the program’s accomplishments, and I know that Jane will continue to ensure the program is a game changer for years to come.”

McKessy, the former head of the Whistleblower office, recently joined the whistleblower law firm Phillips & Cohen LLP as a partner in its Washington office.

McKessy, who left his post as first chief of the SEC’s whistleblower office in July, “played a pivotal role in transforming the SEC’s culture into one that enthusiastically welcomes whistleblowers and appreciates their critical role in advancing the SEC’s enforcement agenda,” said Erika Kelton, a partner and whistleblower attorney at Phillips & Cohen.

Since Norberg has been with the SEC’s Whistleblower Office, the Commission’s awards to whistleblowers have surpassed the $100 million mark, and enforcement actions resulting from whistleblower tips have resulted in orders for more than $500 million in financial remedies, much of which has been returned to harmed investors, the agency said.

The SEC has brought actions to ensure employees feel secure in reporting wrongdoing to the SEC without fear of reprisal from their employers.

Those actions include the agency’s first settled enforcement action under the anti-retaliation provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, and five settled enforcement actions against companies for violating Rule 21F-17 that prohibits anyone from taking any action to impede communications with the SEC about possible securities law violations, which includes the case announced Wednesday against Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Anheuser-Busch InBev agreed to pay $6 million to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and “chilled” a whistleblower who reported the misconduct.

“Threat of financial punishment for whistleblowing is unacceptable,” said Norberg. “We will continue to take a hard look at these types of provisions and fact patterns.”

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