New SEC Enforcement Director Alex Oh Resigns

Alex Oh, who had been on job for a few days, resigns following judge’s questioning of her conduct in lawsuit involving Exxon Mobil.

April 30, 2021 | AtoZ MarketsAlex Oh, the new enforcement chief for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) resigned after just a few days on the job “for personal reasons,” the agency said Wednesday.

Ms. Oh, who was appointed to the role on April 22 by Chairman Gary Gensler, resigned following a judge’s questioning of her conduct in a lawsuit involving Exxon Mobil Corp.

Alex Oh, a former partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, will be succeeded on an acting basis by Melissa Hodgman, the SEC said.

Ms. Oh decided to resign after U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, in an order issued Monday, questioned her conduct during a deposition in a lawsuit filed against Exxon Mobil. Ms. Oh’s law firm, Paul Weiss, represents Exxon in the matter.

Mr. Gensler didn’t comment on the reason for Ms. Oh’s resignation in a statement issued Wednesday. “I thank Alex for her willingness to serve the country at this important time,” Mr. Gensler said.

The move represents an early stumble for Mr. Gensler, who was regarded as a tough regulator when he ran the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) during the Obama administration. He has yet to announce any other new directors for the SEC’s five main divisions.

The SEC didn’t say Wednesday what Ms. Oh had disclosed to Mr. Gensler about the litigation dispute before she was hired. The plaintiffs in the Exxon litigation had alleged misconduct by Exxon’s witness and Ms. Oh during a deposition that took place Feb. 14, according to court filings.

The lawsuit was filed by lawyers for 11 Indonesian citizens who alleged that Exxon’s security personnel committed human rights abuses in that country. The lawsuit is more than 20 years old.

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