SEC’s top cop resurfaces at Milbank

Former SEC co-director of enforcement George Canellos has returned to law firm Milbank.

George Canellos, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) former co-director of enforcement, has returned to New York law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.

Following his decision to step down from the SEC in January, Canellos will become global head of the firm’s litigation practice next month.

Canellos was previously a partner at Milbank before joining the SEC in 2009 as director of the New York office.

During his tenure, Canellos had responsibility for the largest concentration of SEC-registered financial institutions in New York. This included more than 4,000 investment banks, investment advisers, broker-dealers, mutual funds and hedge funds, according to a SEC statement.

In 2012, he was appointed co-head of the agency’s enforcement division alongside Andrew Ceresney and worked on some of the agency’s highest-profile cases, including insider trading actions against hedge funds SAC and Galleon.

Canellos held the position of enforcement director for 11 months after succeeding Robert Khuzami, who left the agency for Kirkland & Ellis last February.

“During his tenure at the SEC, he brought exactly the right mix of prosecutorial toughness and fairness to his cases,” said in a statement Scott Edelman, Milbank’s chairman, who worked together with Canellos as young associates at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. “We are absolutely delighted that George has chosen to rejoin us.”

The SEC’s enforcement division is responsible for investigating possible violations of federal securities laws, including insider trading and fraud. It is the agency's largest unit, with more than 1,200 investigators, accountants, trial attorneys and other professionals.