The SEC announced today the departure of Sean X. McKessy, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. Mr. McKessy was the first to hold that role and started his post in February 2011. Mr. McKessy is credited with developing and establishing the Dodd-Frank whistleblower bounty program from complaint intake to prosecution to the payment of substantial monetary awards to whistleblowers.
As we noted in a recent blog post, the SEC whistleblower program has paid more than $85 million to 32 whistleblowers since its inception. One of Mr. McKessy’s responsibilities has been making recommendations to the SEC concerning whether whistleblowers are eligible to receive a monetary award under the bounty program. The SEC’s most recent award was a stunning $17 million, announced on June 9, 2016.
The SEC’s Press Release notes that while Mr. McKessy was in charge of the Office of the Whistleblower, it received “more than 14,000 whistleblower tips from individuals in every state in the country as well as the District of Columbia and 95 foreign countries.” According to the press release, Mr. McKessy will leave the agency later this month and current Deputy Chief Jane Norberg will serve as Acting Chief following Mr. McKessy’s departure. Ms. Norberg joined the SEC as Deputy Chief in 2012, following a career in private practice and previous government service as a special agent with the U.S. Secret Service, according to an earlier SEC Press Release.