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John W. White

Partner, Corporate

John W. White is Chair of Cravath’s Corporate Governance and Board Advisory practice. From 2006 through 2008, he served as Director of the Division of Corporation Finance at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which oversees disclosure and reporting by public companies in the United States.

While on the SEC staff, Mr. White led the Division through one of the most significant and prolific rulemaking periods in its history, including the Commission’s adoption of final rules addressing executive compensation disclosure, Sarbanes‑Oxley Section 404’s internal control requirements, internet access to proxy materials, oil and gas disclosure, use of interactive data in financial reporting, shareholder proposals relating to the election of directors, private offerings, and capital raising and reporting by smaller public companies, as well as the Commission’s issuance of guidance regarding the use of corporate websites. International initiatives included acceptance of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by foreign private issuers, the proposed roadmap for use of IFRS by U.S. issuers and modernizing the Commission’s rules on cross‑border tender offers and deregistration and exemption from registration of foreign issuers, as well as revisions to the public reporting regime for foreign private issuers. He played an integral role in the SEC’s response to market turmoil throughout 2008, ensuring that the Division acted swiftly and appropriately to facilitate strategic transactions and access to capital for public companies.

During his over 25 years as a partner at Cravath, Mr. White has focused his practice on representing public companies on a wide variety of matters, including corporate governance matters, public reporting obligations, public financings and restatements, revisions and other financial crises.

Mr. White is a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council (FASAC), which advises the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). From 2010 to 2018, he served as a member of the Standing Advisory Group (SAG), which advises the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). Mr. White is a member of the Board of Directors of Financial Executives International (FEI) and a member of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Audit Committee of the Practising Law Institute (PLI). He is a frequent speaker on corporate governance and the securities laws. Mr. White served three years on the New York Stock Exchange’s Legal Advisory Committee, four years as Chairman of the Securities Regulation Institute and five years as Co‑Chair of PLI’s Annual Institute on Securities Regulation. He is currently a member of the Annual Institute’s Advisory Committee as well as the Advisory Committee for PLI’s Annual Institute in Europe. Additionally, he serves as an inaugural member of The American College of Governance Counsel. Mr. White was twice selected by National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) as one of the 100 most influential people in the boardroom and corporate governance community. He has been recognized by Chambers USA in both securities regulation and capital markets, as well as The Legal 500 US, The Best Lawyers in America and Ethisphere Institute’s “Attorneys Who Matter.” Lawdragon has named Mr. White a nationwide “Legend” and inducted him as a “Power Broker” into its “Hall of Fame.”

Mr. White received a B.S. with honors in accounting from the University of Virginia in 1970, and in May 1970 he received the Elijah Watts Sells award for the highest score in the nation on the Uniform CPA Examination. He received a J.D. magna cum laude from New York University School of Law in 1973, where he was Managing Editor of the Law Review. Before joining Cravath, Mr. White served as a law clerk to Hon. John J. Gibbons of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Mr. White joined Cravath in 1975 and was elected a partner in 1980. At Cravath, he has served as Recruiting Partner, Corporate Managing Partner, Finance Partner and twice as Head of the Corporate Department.

Mr. White is admitted only in New York.

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