The second most powerful position at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will soon be filled by a close confidante of both former CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney and former House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.
Brian Johnson has actually held the position of acting deputy director of the CFPB since July 2018, but now, the bureau is making his appointment official.
Johnson, a Republican congressional lawyer and an ally of Hensarling when he led the House Financial Services Committee, joined the CFPB in late 2017 to serve as a senior advisor to Mulvaney.
Johnson was named principal policy director in April 2018, before Mulvaney picked Johnson to serve as acting deputy director last July, a position that became available when Leandra English stepped down from that position after taking the Trump administration to court in a bid to serve as director of the CFPB.
Just before former CFPB Director Richard Cordray stepped down in November 2017, he promoted English from chief of staff to deputy director, positioning her to take over as acting director upon Cordray’s departure.
But the Trump administration fought back against Cordray’s handpicked successor and installed Mulvaney, who frequently criticized the CFPB while serving in Congress as acting director.
English then sued the government, arguing that government rules stipulated that she should be named acting director, not Mulvaney.
English’s case made it all the way to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit before she eventually gave up after Trump named Kathleen Kraninger as Mulvaney’s replacement.
Johnson then took over as acting deputy director, and now, Kraninger is pulling the “acting” tag off of Johnson’s title.
“I’m glad to announce officially that Brian will be the Bureau’s Deputy Director,” Kraninger said in a statement. “Not only has he done a fantastic job serving in the Acting capacity, he has been an invaluable part of the team. Brian’s extensive experience on consumer and financial policy will continue to serve the Bureau in its focus on preventing consumer harm and using all of the tools Congress gave us to protect consumers.”
Johnson brings experience overseeing the financial services industry to his now official role. While working for the House Financial Services Committee, Johnson led the policy and legislative work for the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee on issues such as consumer protection and credit, mortgage origination, credit reporting, banking and data security.
Now, Johnson will serve as Kraninger’s top lieutenant.
But that wasn’t the only change to the CFPB staff announced by the bureau.
The CFPB also announced Monday two new members of its senior staff and two new executives.
According to bureau, Kate Fulton will be the agency’s chief operating officer. Like Johnson, Fulton has held that role for some time in an acting capacity. Fulton joined the CFPB in 2013 as senior counsel in the legal division and late in the Office of Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending.
Then, in 2016, Fulton was named deputy chief of staff and senior counsel. For the last year, Fulton has held the title of acting chief operating officer, and now, Fulton will have the position officially.
In this role, Fulton will manage the bureau’s operations division and support all aspects of the bureau’s operation.
Joining the bureau is Yasaman Sutton, who will serve as senior advisor and counselor to the director. Sutton comes to the CFPB after spending 14 years in the Executive Branch, where she provided advice and representation on legal matters affecting the Office of Management and Budget, the White House, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Justice.
Also joining the bureau in executive capacities are Melissa Brand, who will serve as the director of the Office of Civil Rights, and Jim Rice, who will serve as the assistant director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs.
Brand brings extensive experience in federal sector equal employment opportunity, including almost 10 years at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
During that time, Brand wrote approximately 1,000 federal sector appellate decisions on whether discrimination had occurred or not following complaints from federal employees. Brand also worked as an Administrative Judge and presided over hearings for federal sector complaints of discrimination.
Rice brings more than 30 years of experience serving in the U.S. Army. Rice began as an enlisted medic, followed by enlisted and commissioned service with the Wisconsin Army National Guard in the Field Artillery.
Rice served for more than 30 years in the Army Medical Service Corps as a Medical Evacuation officer. Rice later served as the Director of the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior program and as the Chief of the Health Services Division for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.