President Barack Obama will tap former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White to replace Mary Schapiro as head of the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).
Noted for prosecuting the man who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, as well as organized crime head John Gotti, White left the U.S. Attorney’s office in 2002 and now runs the litigation department at Debevoise & Plimpton, the Associated Press notes.
Administration officials note that during her time as U.S. Attorney, White also prosecuted financial fraud and securities cases. She’s expected to advance the Obama administration’s Wall Street reform agenda at the SEC, if she’s confirmed by the Senate.
Schapiro, the first woman to head the SEC, stepped down last month, after a term that witnessed the government’s efforts to deal with the financial crisis, including massive bailouts of banks and other financial institutions. She negotiated settlements with leading banks relating to the collapse of the mortgage market. However, failure to prosecute any bank executives over the crisis, and the relatively small nature of the settlements, led to criticism.
With her prosecutor’s background, White is widely anticipated to promote more aggressive enforcement of SEC rules.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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