Mary Schapiro, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), testifies during a House Financial Services Committee hearing in June. Schapiro is stepping down as SEC chair Dec. 14. (Saul Loeb / AFP via GettyImages)
Mary Schapiro, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, is stepping down Dec. 14 after almost four years as one of the government’s top financial industry regulators.
“It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to work with so many dedicated SEC staff who strive every day to protect investors and ensure our markets operate with integrity,” Schapiro said in a Monday news release.
President Obama quickly announced that he would name a sitting commission member, Elisse Walter, to replace Schapiro in the Senate-confirmed post. Because Walter had already won Senate confirmation for her current position, she can serve as chairman through next year without having to be reconfirmed, according to a spokesman for the Senate banking committee.
Schapiro, appointed by Obama in January 2009 to the five-member commission, has overseen rule-making and implementation of much of the Dodd-Frank financial services overhaul law; in the release, she said the agency brought a record number of enforcement actions during the last four years, including 734 in fiscal 2012. During her tenure, the SEC, with a workforce of roughly 4,000, benefited from a budget buildup that increased funding from about $900 million in 2008 to $1.3 billion last year.
Schapiro, 57, did not say what her plans are after leaving SEC. Those are “not determined,” John Nester, an agency spokesman, said in an email.
In a statement, Obama praised Schapiro, saying that “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.”
Walter, named to the SEC in 2008 by then-President George W. Bush, previously worked as general counsel at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and later as senior executive vice president for regulatory policy and programs at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which oversees securities firms.