OCC ‘retires’ role of chief operating officer; former Acting Comptroller Paulson to stay at agency, assume new risk, analysis position

The position of chief operating officer (COO) is “retired” at the national bank regulator, under a reorganization plan announced Tuesday by the agency; however, the veteran occupant of that position will stay with the agency but in a new role.

In a release, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said that former COO Blake Paulson will move from his former position to take on a new role as senior deputy comptroller for supervision risk and analysis. That position was created, the agency said, after realigning its economics, supervision system and analytical support, and systemic risk identification support and specialty supervision units under the new office to be overseen by Paulson.

Paulson had served in the COO position since April 2020, with a brief interregnum (from January to May 2021) as acting comptroller, between the resignation of Acting Comptroller Brian P. Brooks and the naming of Michael J. Hsu as acting comptroller by President Joe Biden. Paulson has worked at the OCC since 1986. He resumed the COO job in May.

In addition to the change of duties for Paulson, Hsu said the OCC’s bank supervision units (the bank supervision policy, midsize and community bank supervision, large bank supervision, and supervision risk and analysis) and the office of management will report directly to him as head of the agency.

Hsu also said the agency’s enterprise risk management office will merge with its office of enterprise governance and ombudsman. Senior Deputy Comptroller Larry Hattix will take on the additional title of chief risk officer overseeing that function, Hsu said.

In another change, the OCC said Bill Rowe, who served as the agency’s chief risk officer, will retire at the end of July (which the agency said has been long-planned). Until then, the OCC said he will take on the role of special senior advisor to focus on “enhancing the OCC’s framework for resolving banks with uninsured deposits.”

All changes are expected to be implemented this summer, the OCC; no specific dates were given.

OCC Announces Organizational Changes