President Obama will nominate Debevoise partner and former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White to be the next chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The nomination comes as Obama is again feeling the heat from the media and public interest groups for not prosecuting big Wall Street banks and executives at the center of the 2008 financial crisis.
Just this week, PBS Frontline ran a one-hour special titled The Untouchables about the failure of the Obama administration to bring Wall Street to justice.
But White’s nomination drew immediate support from Better Markets, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that promotes the public interest in the financial markets.
“Mary Jo White was a tough, smart, no nonsense, broadly experienced and highly accomplished prosecutor,” said Better Markets President Dennis Kelleher. “She knew who the bad guys were, went after them and put them in prison when they broke the law. That’s what must happen if integrity and investor confidence is to be restored in our securities markets. Wall Street is a high crime area and Mary Jo White brings the right skill set to restore the rule of law on Wall Street. If the SEC does that, Wall Street, Main Street, our economy and our country will prosper.”
“The SEC needs a new chairman who gets the SEC back to basics: aggressively protecting investors, the markets and our economy,” Kelleher said. “The new chairman must also complete the unfinished job of financial reform. The focus has to be on protecting Main Street. Turning that upside down and worrying about protecting Wall Street is a recipe for disaster, as the financial collapse and the economic crisis it caused have made clear. Mary Jo White has the ability to get this right and protect our country from another devastating financial crisis.”