President-elect Barack Obama has named regulatory veteran Mary Schapiro to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission after he takes office next month.

Schapiro, 53, has been in key regulatory positions for 20 years, serving as an SEC commissioner under three presidents from 1988 to 1994. In 1994, she was appointed to lead the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). She joined the National Association of Securities Dealers in 1996 and quickly rose to lead the NASD, overseeing its merger with the New York Stock Exchange’s regulatory unit to create the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in 2007.

The SEC and Chairman Christopher Cox have undergone heavy criticism lately for not doing enough to prevent the current credit crisis.

Many experts have speculated that the SEC will merge with the CFTC, and say Schapiro’s vast experience would make her an ideal leader of a combined agency.

Schapiro is “the kind of strong and experienced regulator that we very much need in these times,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, told The Wall Street Journal. “I believe her nomination could be approved quickly and without controversy in the Senate.”

“Mary knows the industry, she knows the Commission, she knows the Hill, and I think she’d be an excellent choice,” Jerry Isenberg, a securities defense lawyer for LeClairRyan told the Journal.

Former President Clinton named Schapiro acting chairman in 1993, but if approved by the Senate, she would be the first permanent female chairwoman of the SEC.

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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