President Obama has appointed former New York prosecutor Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission in his second term. Appearing with White on Thursday, Obama urged the Senate to grant her a speedy confirmation.
President Obama: “I am absolutely confident that Mary Jo has the experience and the resolve to tackle these complex issues and protect the American people in a way that is smart and in a way that is fair. And I expect the Senate to confirm Mary Jo as soon as possible so she can get to work.”
White would be the first former prosecutor to head the SEC, a critical position for the oversight of Wall Street. While supporters have billed her nomination as a signal of tougher financial regulation in the second term, she also brings to the job a résumé of defending top financial institutions as a white-collar defense attorney. White’s client list includes former Bank of America head Ken Lewis, the board of Morgan Stanley, and the firm JPMorgan Chase. In a statement, the consumer advocacy watchdog Public Citizen expressed cautious optimism over White’s appointment, calling her a “tough prosecutor with expertise in complex securities and financial fraud.”