By Jenna Greene
Former Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan is returning to Covington & Burling, where he'll chair the firm's financial institutions group.
Dugan spent a dozen years at Covington before being appointed the 29th Comptroller of the Currency, serving a five-year term that ran from August 2005 to 2010.
He described his tenure at the helm of the agency that supervises that more than 1,500 national banks and federal branches of foreign banks-which together hold nearly two-thirds of the assets of the U.S. commercial banking system-as "in some ways harrowing, but intensely interesting and fascinating."
On his watch came the financial meltdown and recession, and an extraordinary range of regulatory and supervisory actions, including the Troubled Asset Relief Program; resolutions of large, mid-size, and community banks; and the successful implementation of regulatory "stress tests."
"It was my dream job when I went there," Dugan said. "I had two years of peace time, two years of war, and one year of the aftermath."
He pointed to the firm's "established foundation of regulatory practices integrated with other practices. I did not want to start a practice, and I thought this would be an exceptional platform."
In a press release, Timothy Hester, chairman of Covington's management committee, said, "John brings extraordinary knowledge of financial institutions and the current legal and policy landscape. This will be a tremendous asset to financial institution clients addressing important regulatory, litigation, and corporate issues."
Dugan, who will start work at the firm on Jan. 3, said he anticipates assisting clients with "how to deal with the new regulatory rules," and what kinds of arguments are likely to win traction.
He also predicted a wave of merger activity in the financial sector, but said regulators will look at the deals with a new focus. The world has changed for financial institutions, he said. "They're regulated in everything they touch."
Before first coming to Covington in 1993, Dugan served as assistant secretary for domestic finance at the U.S. Department of Treasury, and as counsel and minority general counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.