* Deloitte facing regulatory pressure over audits
* Firm says former SEC official taking leadership role
By Dena Aubin
NEW YORK, Dec 5 The former chief accountant of
the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is rejoining
Deloitte LLP as the Big Four audit firm confronts increased
James Kroeker, who left the SEC in July, will join Deloitte
in January in a "leadership role" as deputy managing partner,
Deloitte said in a statement late on Tuesday.
Deloitte, under pressure from regulators in the United
States and abroad, may also hire a former head of Britain's
financial watchdog, a source told Reuters on Tuesday.
Deloitte is in the early stages of talks to hire Hector
Sants, former chief of Britain's Financial Services Authority, a
person familiar with the matter told Reuters. Deloitte and the
FSA declined comment.
Kroeker was a partner at Deloitte before joining the SEC in
2007. He will report to Deloitte's U.S. chief executive, Joe
Echevarria, the audit firm said.
The appointment must still be approved by Deloitte's board
Several other senior officials are leaving the SEC. Agency
Chairman Mary Schapiro said last week she will step down this
month, while the SEC on Tuesday said Division of Corporation
Finance Director Meredith Cross is also leaving.
On Wednesday, the SEC said General Counsel Mark Cahn and
Trading and Markets Division Director Robert Cook are leaving.
Deloitte has faced a string of public problems over its
audits and consulting work over the past year.
In the latest flare-up, it was accused last month of failing
to warn of accounting problems at Autonomy, a UK software firm
bought by U.S. technology giant Hewlett-Packard Co.
Deloitte's UK arm, Autonomy's auditor, has said it had no
knowledge of accounting improprieties.
HP last month took an $8.8 billion write-down on Autonomy,
blaming most of it on improper accounting. Autonomy has insisted
its accounting was correct. HP has said it turned the matter
over to U.S. and UK authorities.
Deloitte is also facing mounting pressure from U.S.
regulators over access to audit documents.
The SEC on Monday charged the Chinese arms of Deloitte and
four other top accounting firms with securities violations for
refusing to turn over documents relating to companies suspected
of wrongdoing. The audit firms say they cannot turn over the
documents because of Chinese state secrecy laws.