CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam Announces Executive Staff Appointments

Source: US Commodity Futures Trading Commission

— Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Rostin Behnam today announced the following executive leadership and communications appointments as he begins his chairmanship. This team will work directly with Chairman Behnam to establish the Commission’s agenda and execute the responsibilities in the CFTC governing statute and other issues facing the agency. Today’s announcement follows Chairman Behnam naming Tanisha Cole Edmonds as the CFTC’s first Chief Diversity Officer. Chairman Behnam plans to make additional staff and leadership announcements very soon.

“I have worked with all of these individuals as a Commissioner and as Acting Chairman and have utmost respect for each of them,” said Chairman Behnam. “I am confident in their knowledge, expertise and commitment to public service and the CFTC’s mission to work diligently alongside me, with each other, and the excellent staff at the CFTC on critical priorities confronting the agency.”

David Gillers, Chief of Staff

David Gillers is currently the Chief of Staff and will continue in this role. Mr. Gillers joined the then-Commissioner Behnam’s office in 2019 after a decade as a congressional staff member working on financial services and energy matters, most recently as Democratic Senior Counsel to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He worked extensively on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act), the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, and the energy provisions of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015. Gillers worked as a corporate attorney prior to his time in Congress. He is a graduate of Columbia College and received his JD from Boston College Law School where he was a Weinstein Scholar.  

Laura Gardy, Deputy Chief of Staff

Laura Gardy is the Chairman’s Deputy Chief of Staff and will oversee Commission administrative functions and operations with an emphasis on human capital management. Ms. Gardy previously served as a Special Counsel to Acting Chairman Behnam during his time as Commissioner. She joined his legal team in 2017 from an Associate Director position in the former Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (renamed the Market Participants Division in 2020). She previously worked at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, where she was Counsel in the Securities & Corporate Practices Group in the Office of Chief Counsel. Ms. Gardy began her career at the CFTC in 2002 as a trial attorney in the Division of Enforcement and as Counsel to the Director. She later served as Legal Assistant to the late Commissioner Bart Chilton and as Senior Counsel to then-Commissioner Scott D. O’Malia during the Dodd-Frank Act rulemakings. Ms. Gardy holds a B.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law. 

John Dunfee, Chief Counsel

John Dunfee will continue to serve as Chief Counsel to Chairman Behnam. Prior to his role as Chief Counsel, he was Special Counsel to then-Commissioner Behnam from 2017 to 2021. Mr. Dunfee joined the CFTC in 2000, and has held numerous important roles at the Commission. From 2011 to 2017, he held a number of positions in the Office of General Counsel, including Acting Deputy General Counsel for Trade Execution and Data. From 2010 to 2011, he served as Counsel to Commissioner Michael Dunn.  From 2003 to 2010, Mr. Dunfee was in the position of Chief Trial Attorney in the Division of Enforcement. He began his CFTC career as a Trial Attorney in the Division of Enforcement. Mr. Dunfee holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.   

Alicia L. Lewis, Special Counsel

Alicia Lewis will continue to serve as Special Counsel to Chairman Behnam managing clearing, LIBOR transition, and international regulatory matters. Ms. Lewis joined the CFTC in 2009. Since 2017, she has served as the Designated Federal Officer for the CFTC’s Market Risk Advisory Committee for which Chairman Behnam is the sponsor. From 2017 to 2019, she was a member of then-Commissioner Behnam’s legal team. Ms. Lewis also has served as Special Counsel in the Office of International Affairs (2020-2021), and in the International and Domestic Clearing Initiatives (2019-2020) and Chief Counsel (2009-2017) Branches of the Division of Clearing and Risk. Before the CFTC, Ms. Lewis was Interim Legal Counsel at the Managed Funds Association where she was responsible for monitoring and commenting on regulatory developments affecting the alternative investment industry at U.S. financial regulatory agencies. Ms. Lewis began her legal career as an associate in the Securities Enforcement and Investment Management practices at K&L Gates where she worked for eight years.  Ms. Lewis is also licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (inactive status) and previously worked on investment company audit engagements at Price Waterhouse LLP. Ms. Lewis holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business Undergraduate Division (BS) and William & Mary Law School (JD)

Abigail S. Knauff, Special Counsel

Abigail Knauff joins Chairman Behnam’s office as Special Counsel, where she will serve as the deputy of the CFTC’s Climate Risk Unit, which focuses on the role of derivatives in addressing climate-related risk and fostering product innovation to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy. In addition to climate-finance and related risk issues, she will manage matters involving intermediaries and data. Ms. Knauff previously served as Special Counsel in the Clearing Policy Branch of the CFTC’s Division of Clearing and Risk (2018-2021) and the Market Review Branch of the CFTC’s Division of Market Oversight (2012-2018). She also served as the Secretary of the CFTC’s Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee (2019-2021).  Ms. Knauff received a LL.M. in Securities and Financial Regulation from the Georgetown University Law Center, a JD from the University of Baltimore School of Law, and a BBA from The College of William and Mary.

Steven W. Adamske, Public Affairs Director

Steven Adamske rejoins the CFTC as the agency’s Director of Public Affairs. Adamske previously held the role for almost seven years and served as a Senior Policy Advisor to Commissioner Sharon Y. Bowen. Most recently Mr. Adamske was the Vice President and Head of Communications and Public Affairs at FIA. At the CFTC, Adamske implemented the communications strategy and outreach efforts for more than 65 final rules, orders and guidance documents required in the Dodd-Frank Act and the Libor and benchmark manipulation cases to name a few. Prior to joining the CFTC, Mr. Adamske served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Treasury, where he specialized in Domestic Finance and oversaw communications for the Dodd-Frank Act, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and Treasury’s housing programs. Prior to that, Mr. Adamske was a senior staff member and Communications Director for the House Financial Services Committee and for Rep. Barney Frank during a time when the committee passed the Dodd-Frank Act, the auto industry rescue, TARP and the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. He also served in senior press roles for several members of Congress, and he served in the Clinton Administration as a senior advance and scheduling aide to Vice President Al Gore and held communications positions at the Department of Interior and the Federal Communications Commission. Mr. Adamske is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine.