Richard C. Breeden

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Richard C. Breeden
24th Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission
In office
October 1989 – July 1993
PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush
Preceded byDavid Sturtevant Ruder
Succeeded byArthur Levitt
Personal details
Born (1949-12-06) December 6, 1949 (age 69)
Levittown, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Holly Breeden,
Linda H. Breeden
Alma materStanford University (A.B.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)

Richard C. Breeden (born December 6, 1949) is a former Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, hedge fund manager, and corporate chairman.[1]

Early career[edit]

Breeden began his career practicing corporate and securities law in New York City.[2] During the administrations of Presidents Reagan, Bush (I) and Clinton, he held a series of government posts, including assistant to the President for issue analysis under President George H. W. Bush.[3]

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission[edit]

From 1989 to 1993, Breeden served as Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.[4] During his tenure, Breeden's actions included:[citation needed]

  • changing US proxy rules to create "short slate" proxy contests;
  • changing the rules to allow institutional investors to discuss performance problems at companies;
  • creating the "compensation discussion and analysis" section of the proxy;
  • requiring graphical presentations of share performance;
  • requiring disclosure of equity grants and valuation for the first time;
  • requiring listing of the names of compensation committee members;
  • broadening the scope for permissible shareholder resolutions in areas relating to compensation and governance.


For more than a decade prior to launching Breeden Partners, Breeden and his consulting firm Richard C. Breeden & Co. LLC served as advisors to companies engaged in restructurings or turnarounds of distress situations. Many of these companies experienced fraud, compliance problems or serious governance abuses, as well as prolonged performance difficulties. For example, Mr. Breeden led the turnaround of WorldCom, Inc., and he has served as the monitor of the accounting firm KPMG in its successful recovery from criminal activities involving abusive tax shelters. Prior to forming his own firm Mr. Breeden served as chairman of the worldwide financial services practice of Coopers & Lybrand.

Mr. Breeden was also highly involved with S.E.C. investigation of Hollinger International and Conrad Black in which Black was convicted in Illinois to serve 78 months in prison and pay $6.1 million to Hollinger and a fine of $125,000.[5] Conrad Black served a total of 37 months after two fraud charges were overturned by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, leaving one fraud charge and one obstruction of justice charge. The four counts remaining after the trial were unanimously vacated by the US Supreme Court. [1] The 6.5 year sentence was reduced to 42 months. [2] The $6.1 million fine to the SEC was reduced to $4.1 million in 2013. Mr. Breeden is one of the named parties in a $872 million libel suit in Canada initiated by Conrad Black after the conviction.[6] Black won the libel suit which was one of the largest in Canadian history. [3]

Breeden served as non-executive Chairman of the Board of H&R Block, following a successful proxy contest in 2007 to 2011.[7] He also serves as a director of Zale Corporation and STERIS Corp. and has previously served as a director of BBVA, SA, one of the 20 largest banks in the world. Mr. Breeden has served on approximately 15 corporate or advisory boards during his career.

In 2006 Breeden founded Breeden Partners which he is Chairman of, and its manager Breeden Capital Management. Breeden is the founding partner of Breeden Partners Europe, which was launched in December, 2008.


Breeden was the oldest of three children and grew up in Manhattan Beach, California. He graduated B.A. from Stanford University in 1972 and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1975. He currently lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with his 2nd wife, Linda H. Breeden. Breeden is the father of five sons.


  1. ^ David Mildenberg & Yalman Onaran (November 20, 2007). "H&R Block's Mark Ernst Quits, Breeden Named Chairman". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  2. ^ Rudnick, Michael. "The operational optimist" The Deal Magazine, October 24, 2008. Retrieved on July 18, 2013.[dead link]
  3. ^ Nathaniel C. Nash (May 10, 1989). "Administration Lobbies for its Savings Plan". The New York Times. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  4. ^ "SEC Historical Summary of Chairman and Commissioners". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  5. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine (September 1, 2004). "Hollinger Files Stinging Report on Ex-Officials". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Mullman, Jeremy (October 1, 2004). "Hollinger's Black: I was libeled". Crain's Chicago Business.
  7. ^ Doom, Justin (2007-09-06). "H&R Block Chairman Breeden Stepping Down to Focus on Hedge Fund". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2011-03-18.
Government offices
Preceded by
David Sturtevant Ruder
Securities and Exchange Commission Chair
1989 – 1993
Succeeded by
Arthur Levitt

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