SEC Chair Mary Jo White to Leave Agency When Trump Takes Office

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Nov 15, 2016

Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White announced plans to step down from the agency when President Obama leaves office, paving the way for President-elect Trump to appoint a new chair when he moves into the White House, according to The New York Times. While the Times said that White had planned to leave no matter what the outcome of the election was, a Trump victory means that White, a former federal prosecutor who focused on the securities industry, will be replaced by someone who, according to the Times, will likely push the agency further to the right. White's departure will probably not be the only change at the SEC: CNN Money pointed out that the commission has two vacancies already, the Senate having refused to confirm any of Obama's replacement nominees. 

The Times said that speculation has already begun on who will replace her. Some names being floated so far include Michael S. Piwowar, a Republican who currently sits on the commission, and Paul S. Atkins, a former SEC member, also a Republican, who has been tapped to lead the effort to select a new chair. 

While White is the first major financial regulator to announce her departure, the Times said more will likely follow. For example, Timothy Massad, the chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is expected to leave by early 2017, though he may remain as a commissioner. Martin J. Gruenberg, of the FDIC, and Thomas Curry, of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, are also both expected to leave sometime next year. 

White, an independent, has faced criticism from both the Republican and Democratic parties during the course of her three-year tenure, according to Fox Business News. Despite this, she will leave the agency as one of its longest-serving chairs, according to CNN Money

Turnover is not only happening at the federal government: Accounting Today notes that several members of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) have their terms ending next year: Daryl Buck, who chose to leave the board early, and Larry Smith. The following year will see the departure of longtime board member Marc Siegel as well. This means that, within two years, there will be three new board members on the seven-member body. 

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