SEC head Schapiro to step down

By Vanessa De La Rosa

Mary L. Schapiro, who has served as head of the SEC since the onset of the financial crisis in 2009, has announced that she plans to leave the Commission on December 14, Bloomberg reports. Schapiro's stepping down marks the first major departure of the Obama administration's team of financial regulators.

Schapiro was appointed as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission by President Obama on January 20, 2009, and her appointment was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. She served one of the longest tenures as chair, outlasting 24 or the previous 28 chairmen, according to

President Obama has named Elissa B. Walter, an SEC commissioner and former senior executive vice president at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, as the new chairwoman. Walter will take over for the foreseeable future, according to The New York Times, and not just step in for an interim post.

“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 statement. “We have brought a record number of enforcement actions, engaged in one of the busiest rulemaking periods, and gained greater authority from Congress to better fulfill our mission.”

"Schapiro’s departure comes as the agency navigates through a flood of new mandates generated by the Dodd-Frank Act and a wave of enforcement matters stemming from the financial market turmoil of 2008," Bloomberg states.

It has been speculated that Schapiro will likely not follow her predecessors and enter private legal practice, but instead, she may be inclined to fill a position at a university or research group.