Rumors were right: SEC chief to step down in December

Mary Schapiro, head of the Securities and Exchange

Mary Schapiro, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. (Getty) (Credit: Mary Schapiro, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. (Getty))

The head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Schapiro, announced Monday that she would step down from the agency on Dec. 14.

SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter will be designated to succeed Schapiro upon her departure, the White House said in a statement.

Walter will serve as chairman-designate on a temporary basis.

A White House official said President Barack Obama planned to nominate someone in the near future to serve a full term as chairman.

"The SEC is stronger, and our financial system is safer and better able to serve the American people - thanks in large part to Mary's hard work," Obama said.

Speculation swirled for months that Schapiro would leave soon after the recent presidential election.

The announcement marks one of the first departures of Obama's financial regulation team in the aftermath of the election.

Schapiro led the SEC through a major overhaul in the wake of the financial crisis, as it bore the brunt of criticism for its oversight leading up to the crisis and for failing to catch now-convicted Ponzi schemers Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford.

In the past two years, the agency logged record enforcement actions, including 735 in the 2011 fiscal year and 734 in 2012, it said in a statement announcing Schapiro's departure.

The SEC has also been bogged down with major rules that the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulation law required it to write, many of which are still in process.

"I've been so amazed by how hard the men and women of the agency work each and every day and by the sacrifices they make to get the job done," Schapiro said in the statement.

Tags: NEWS , SEC

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