Mary Schapiro outgoing SEC chairman

President Obama Praises Mary Schapiro, Appoints Elisse Walter As New SEC Chair

Washington, D.C. – President Obama praised Mary Schapiro, the outgoing chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Monday before announcing her successor.

The president said in a statement:

“I want to express my deep gratitude to Mary Schapiro for her steadfast leadership at the Securities and Exchange Commission. When Mary agreed to serve nearly four years ago, she was fully aware of the difficulties facing the SEC and our economy as a whole. But she accepted the challenge, and today, 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.”

During her tenure, Mary Schapiro helped lead the US government’s regulatory response to the 2008 financial crisis. She took over the SEC after it failed to detect Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. She is planning to leave the agency on December 14.

Under Schapiro, the SEC reached its largest settlement ever with a financial institution. Goldman Sachs agreed to a $550 million settlement for civil fraud charges in July 2010.

Lawmakers and experts have said that Schapiro made the SEC more efficient and said that she fought for increased funding needed to enforce new rules enacted after the financial crisis.

Mary Schapiro was the first woman to serve as the agency’s permanent chairman. She was appointed by President Obama on January 20, 2009 and unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

Obama has designated a current SEC Commissioner, Elissa Walter, as Schapiro’s replacement. The president said, “I’m confident that Elisse’s years of experience will serve her well in her new position, and I’m grateful she has agreed to help lead the agency.”

[Pictured: Mary Schapiro]