Release Number 8521-22

CFTC Commissioner Johnson Announces Initial Staff Appointments

May 05, 2022

— CFTC Commissioner Kristin N. Johnson announced today appointments to her executive staff. Bruce Fekrat will serve as Chief Counsel and Natasha C. Robinson Coates and Lillian A. Cardona will serve as interim Senior Counsel.

“I am excited to work with this exceptionally talented team during this transformative moment in the history and development of financial markets,” said Commissioner Johnson. “It is a privilege to benefit from expert counsel with such an extensive depth and breadth of experience in market structure, risk management oversight, and customer protection in the markets for legacy and innovative, emerging asset classes,” she added.

Commissioner Johnson will make additional executive staff announcements in the near future. 

Bruce Fekrat, Chief Counsel

Bruce Fekrat will serve as Commissioner Johnson’s Chief Counsel effective June 1, 2022. Bruce joins Commissioner Johnson’s office from CME Group, where he was an Executive Director and Associate General Counsel.

At CME Group, Bruce served as lead regulatory counsel to its energy, metals, agricultural, FX, digital assets, and environmental product groups, providing comprehensive regulatory guidance to global service lines and their associated teams. During his tenure at CME Group, Bruce facilitated the development of transformative financial and physical products and functionalities including bitcoin and ether derivatives, regulated cryptocurrency reference rates, LNG futures, and next generation HVaR-based margining frameworks. 

Prior to CME Group, Bruce was Special Counsel at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP (WilmerHale) and served as Senior Special Counsel in the CFTC’s Division of Market Oversight (DMO). At WilmerHale, Bruce represented U.S.-based and international exchanges, clearing houses, derivatives intermediaries, and commercial end-users in complex regulatory and enforcement matters. While serving in DMO, Bruce led multiple interdivisional teams responsible for conceptualizing and developing foundational Dodd-Frank Act rulemakings.

Bruce graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland College Park and received his J.D. and LL.M. (with distinction) in Securities and Financial Regulation from Georgetown University Law Center.

Natasha C. Robinson Coates, Interim Senior Counsel

Natasha C. Robinson Coates will serve as interim Senior Counsel to Commissioner Johnson. Natasha joins Commissioner Johnson’s office from the CFTC’s Legal Division where she served as Deputy General Counsel for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs. In that role, she led a team of attorneys that provided advice and counsel to divisions and offices including the Office of International Affairs, Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, and the Whistleblower Office. Among other responsibilities, Natasha served as the principal legal advisor with respect to reviewing and evaluating proposed legislation, and worked with staff to implement program initiatives involving other financial regulators and entities such as the Financial Stability Oversight Council. 

Natasha joined the CFTC in 2019 after more than a decade with the U.S. Department of Commerce. During her tenure at Commerce, Natasha was a legal advisor to several operating units including the International Trade Administration and Bureau of Economic Analysis. Natasha’s portfolio of work ranged from advising on trade remedy laws to overseeing internal compliance programs. Prior to joining Commerce, Natasha served as a law clerk to a state court judge. 

Natasha received a B.A. from St. Mary’s College of Maryland (Phi Beta Kappa), M.S. from Champlain College, and J.D. from William and Mary School of Law.

Lillian A. Cardona, Interim Senior Counsel

Lillian A. Cardona joins Commissioner Johnson’s office from DMO, where she served as an Assistant Chief Counsel. In DMO, Lillian has counseled the Director and Division staff on various product and market oversight policy matters. She also worked on major rulemakings, including the CFTC’s recent Position Limits Final Rule, and worked with DMO’s Compliance Branch on leading two Swap Execution Facility regulatory compliance consultations. Most recently, Lillian was detailed to the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs where she served as an advisor for the new CFTC commissioners during their Senate confirmation process.

Prior to joining the CFTC, Lillian spent several years in private practice advising multinational companies on regulatory and transactional matters related to energy commodities and derivatives trading and served as regulatory counsel on renewable energy project finance transactions. Lillian also represented clients in regulatory proceedings and enforcement matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Before attending law school, she served as an FX/Commodity Specialist at Bloomberg, LP and a futures margin analyst at a major investment bank.

Lillian is a member of the Hispanic Bar Association of D.C. and has led the planning for the Latina Leadership Academy and co-chaired its Professional Development Committee.

Lillian received her B.A. from Rutgers University with high honors, and her J.D. from Rutgers School of Law-Newark.