Less than one week after it was announced that the CFPB’s prolific rulemaking unit—the Office of Regulations—was losing its Assistant Director to private practice, the CFPB announced a replacement as well other changes in its senior management. The CFPB just announced that Kelly Thompson Cochran will replace Leonard Chanin as the acting Assistant Director of the Office of Regulations. Ms. Cochran previously served as the Deputy Assistant Director for Regulations at the Bureau under Mr. Chanin and will oversee the nearly 40 lawyers responsible for promulgating the CFPB’s rules and regulations. Prior to joining the Bureau, Ms. Cochran was on the policy staff at the U.S. Treasury Department. Ms. Cochran graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law and clerked for Judges Tatel (D.C. Cir.) and Robertson (D. D.C.). Ms. Cochran was also an associate at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C., with a focus on consumer financial services regulatory counseling and litigation.
Mr. Chanin, who was recruited by Elizabeth Warren to join the CFPB and has spent the last year and a half running the Bureau’s rulemaking operations, left the CFPB to return to private practice. Prior to joining the CFPB, Mr. Chanin served as Deputy Director in the Division of Consumer and Community Affairs of the Federal Reserve Board, where he supervised consumer financial protection regulations. Director Cordray issued a statement saying that, “[d]uring his time at the Bureau, Leonard built an effective rule-writing team that has developed proposals to implement key consumer financial protections that will benefit all Americans. Although we will miss Leonard, he leaves a strong and experienced team that will continue to move forward with this important work.”
Ms. Cochran’s promotion was not the only change in the CFPB’s senior management. Chris Lipsett was named senior counsel to the CFPB. Mr. Lipset was a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr. In private practice, Mr. Lipsett had a general regulatory practice with emphasis on financial institutions and their business, including counseling and litigation. Mr. Lipsett has represented a wide range of firms on financial regulatory and litigation matters. Mr. Lipsett is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
The CFPB also announced that Meredith Fuchs, the former principal deputy general counsel and chief of staff to CFPB Director Richard Cordray, will serve as its general counsel. Stephen Van Meter, the CFPB’s former assistant general counsel for policy, will replace Ms. Fuchs as its deputy general counsel. Leonard Kennedy has been named an adviser to Director Cordray. Finally, the CFPB named Delicia Reynolds Hand, previously the legislative director for the National Association of Consumer Advocates, as the new staff director of consumer advisory councils at the Bureau.
Director Cordray issued a statement announcing that he was “pleased to announce these new additions and updates to the CFPB leadership team. We look forward to welcoming them as we continue to work on behalf of the American consumer.” Some, however, including the Slate’s Matthew Yglesias, warn that these changes and the “revolving door” between regulatory agencies and private practice is a difficulty that “the CFPB will have in building a really effective agency over the long term.”