As Arthur Levitt's resignation from the chairmanship of the Securities and Exchange Commission took effect earlier this month, assessments of his eight-year legacy varied widely. While some hailed Levitt - the commission's longest serving chairman ever - as an outstanding chairman who established a new standard for the commission's role in shareholder advocacy, others criticized him for both not sufficiently upholding shareholder interests and for going overboard in doing so.

"I think Levitt has been absolutely spectacular," said Don Phillips, a managing director with Morningstar of Chicago. "I don't think there has ever been a better SEC commissioner. I think we'll be hard-pressed and very fortunate to see one as good in our lifetimes."

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