Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals Elects New Chairman and Directors; SEC Commissioner Paredes Addresses Society

Jul 13, 2012, 12:17 ET from Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals

WASHINGTON, July 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals today elected Kenneth L. Wagner of Peabody Energy Corporation as Society Chairman for the 2012-13 year. Mr. Wagner was elected at the Society's annual meeting, which took place at its 66th National Conference in Washington DC.

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Mr. Wagner is Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, Assistant Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer of Peabody Energy Corporation.  He leads the Peabody Law Department's Corporate and Governance Group, which is responsible for, among other things, advising the board of directors and senior management on corporate governance, SEC and NYSE compliance and reporting, risk management, investor relations and executive compensation.  

Wendi S. Bickett was elected Chairman-Elect for 2012-13.  Ms. Bickett is Assistant Corporate Secretary of Enterprise Products Partners, and is the outgoing chair of the Society's Educational Programs Committee.

The following Society members were elected to the Society's Board of Directors:

  • Scott W. Andreasen, Vice President and Secretary of H&R Block
  • Rhonda L. Carroll, Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer & Secretary of Encore Bancshares
  • Keir D. Gumbs, Partner of Covington & Burling
  • Susan Permut, Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel of EMC Corporation
  • Steven H. Shapiro, Partner of Pircher, Nichols & Meeks
  • Carol V. Schwartz, Secretary & Corporate Governance Officer of American Express

SEC Commissioner Troy Paredes addressed conference attendees immediately following the Society's annual meeting.  Mr. Paredes gave an SEC update focusing on the future of the Commission's rulemaking regime.  Commissioner Paredes said that the process needs to be robust, and should take into consideration unintended consequences as well as the costs and benefits of a proposed rule to ensure that the Commission ends up with "smart regulation". 

With respect to specific observations on remaining executive compensation rulemaking under the Dodd-Frank Act, Commissioner Paredes said in his view, any regulation should be workable, and should be implemented only after possible undesirable consequences are considered.

Commissioner Paredes also gave his thoughts on the goal of "good corporate governance" which he described as "good decision making".  And, as to what makes an effective board, he believes that it depends less on conventions of composition or structure but more on how directors act and their willingness to dissent and to engage each other.

In response to questions, Commissioner Paredes offered his views on how the SEC's cost benefit analysis will work going forward, opportunities for disclosure reform, alleged politicization of the agency, and the effect of the election on the SEC's schedule.

Among sessions scheduled for Friday, is a panel on the future of the SEC that includes former SEC Commissioner Kathleen Casey and former SEC Secretary Jonathan Katz, and former SEC Enforcement Chief Linda Chatman ThomsenJohn F. Olson, Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, will moderate that discussion. 

The Conference concludes Saturday with an address from author Bethany McLean (The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron), and a panel of six senior leaders from the SEC's Division of Corporation Finance, including Director Meredith Cross.

About the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals
Founded in 1946, the Society is a professional association of over 3,000 attorneys, accountants and other governance professionals who serve 1,800 public, private and not for profit companies of most every size and industry.  Its members support the work of corporate boards and executive management regarding corporate governance and disclosure, compliance with the corporate and securities laws and regulations, and stock exchange listing requirements.  The Society provides educational programs, develops best practices and provides data and constructive comments in response to legislative and regulatory requests for information about the practical implications and likely effectiveness of proposed changes in governance practices or regulations.

For inquiries regarding Society communications, please contact Teresa Webb, Director of Membership and Marketing, at 212-681-2007 or by e-mail at

SOURCE Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals