The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has appointed a new head of its cyber division.
Taking over from Robert A. Cohen, who left the post for a position in the private sector in August, Kristina Littman will be the agency’s new chief of the Division of Enforcement’s Cyber Unit, according to an SEC announcement on Monday.
Joining the SEC as a staff attorney in 2010, Littman rose in the ranks to become a senior advisor to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton in the summer of 2017. In that role, she has advised Clayton on regulatory and policy relating to cryptocurrencies and digital assets, as well as international affairs, trading and markets, the SEC said.
“Kristy’s innovative thinking and extensive experience within the Commission have made her an invaluable advisor and, most importantly, a tireless defender of America’s investors,” said Clayton. “She will be an excellent leader for the Cyber Unit as it continues its work in this critical and continually evolving area.”
The Cyber Unit was founded in 2017 as a way to tackle cybersecurity issues and protect investors against wayward members of the developing blockchain and crypto industry.
Under Robert Cohen, the unit pursued actions against initial coin offerings the agency considered fraudulent. Littman will inherit notable ongoing crypto lawsuits, including one against Kik Interactive for allegedly engaging in an unregistered $100-million securities offering. Telegram is also fighting a similar SEC-brought case over its gram token.
Cohen left the SEC for a partner position at corporate law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP – a company that has represented crypto firms including Coinbase, as well as major financial institutions.
With a J.D. and an M.B.A. from the School of Law at Rutgers University, Littman had practiced at a law firm specializing in corporate and securities litigation prior to joining the SEC.
Littman’s varied experience “as an investigator, a trial lawyer, and a senior advisor – have prepared her well to lead the Cyber Unit,” said Steven Peikin, co-director of the Division of Enforcement.