Sean McKessy

Sean X. McKessy, a partner at Phillips & Cohen LLP, was the first Chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower and helped establish the procedures and policies for handling the thousands of whistleblower claims the SEC receives annually. During his five-year tenure, he played a key role in the SEC’s efforts to reward and protect whistleblowers.

Mr. McKessy now represents whistleblowers at Phillips & Cohen, which has the longest-standing and most successful practice devoted exclusively to representing whistleblowers, with more than $12.3 billion recovered as a result of the firm’s cases.

The SEC awarded Mr. McKessy its Law and Policy Award in recognition of his work implementing the whistleblower program created by the Dodd-Frank Act. He is considered one of the “Top Minds” in corporate governance, risk and compliance, according to a list compiled by Compliance Week.

Mr. McKessy served previously at the SEC in the Enforcement Division. He later held corporate compliance positions as corporate secretary for Altria Group Inc. and AOL Inc. and as securities counsel for Caterpillar Inc.

Mr. McKessy can be contacted at [email protected]. For more information about Phillips & Cohen, see

vanishing $100 bills

The SEC is considering a rule change that would effectively introduce a floor and a ceiling for whistleblower awards. As Phillips & Cohen Partner Sean McKessy explains, they seem to be instating a solution to a nonexistent problem. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has long hailed its whistleblower program as a success, with the former SEC chair, Mary Jo White, calling...

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