Today, the SEC announced that the Chairman of the Commission, Mary Schapiro, will be leaving her post on December 14, 2012, after nearly four years in that role.
The White House also released a statement today wherein President Obama stated, "I am pleased to designate Elisse Walter as SEC Chairman after Mary's departure. 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."
Elisse Walter has been a Commissioner on the SEC since 2008, when she was appointed by President George W. Bush. Previously she worked at FINRA (and it was also then known, NASD). Previously, she had worked as the general counsel for the CFTC and had also worked on staff at the SEC. During my days at NASD, I had the occasion to interact with Elisse from time to time relating to cases I was working on, as well as for parts of a leadership development program in which I participated while at the regulatory organization. I found her to be very knowledgeable and capable, and I also found her to be pretty reasonable - a trait I think is greatly needed for a position like this. I wish her the best as she prepares to chair the SEC.
When Ms. Walter takes over as chairman, she will have her hands full, including dealing with potential calls for additional oversight and regulation of investment advisers, and the possibility of the institution of a self-regulatory organization (SRO) to oversee investment advisers much like FINRA oversees the broker-dealer industry, under the oversight of the SEC.
Because Ms. Walter is currently a Commissioner, the President will nominate another person to fill the position that she vacates to become Chairman. As I write this, I have not yet seen any official announcement from the White House on that.