The SEC Is Officially A Girls’ Club: Watch Out Wall Street!|
President Obama has had a busy week. Wife Michelle earned headlines thanks to her new bangs, he was inaugurated into his second term, and he nominated Mary Jo White (pictured above), a former federal prosecutor in New York, to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. White will replace Mary Schapiro, and reportedly beat out former Wall Street power woman Sallie Krawcheck for the job. Obama’s appointment confirms that the SEC is officially on its way to becoming a girls’ club.
“You don’t want to mess with Mary Jo,” Obama said in a press conference. “As one former SEC chairman said, ‘Mary Jo doesn’t intimidate easily.’ And that’s important, because she’s got a big job ahead of her.”
Still, it sounds like White is the right woman for the job. She has a reputation for toughness and a stunning resume. In 1993, she became the first and only woman to serve as U.S. attorney in Manhattan. During that time, she prosecuted the terrorists responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Africa. She also pursued mob boss John Gotti, reportedly refused to sign off on President Clinton’s pardon of oil trader Mark Rich, and briefly investigated it after he went ahead and pardoned him anyway. She left that position in 2002 to serve as a white-collar criminal defense attorney at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York.
It is her last job that has some experts wondering if she is the right fit for the position. Some say she is a little light when it comes to corporations being charged for misconduct. Isaac Boltansky, an analyst with Compass Point Research and Trading, told The Washington Post, “Folks who are expecting her to use the SEC’s authority to suddenly put the entirety of Wall Street on a perp walk will be sorely disappointed.”
Most SEC directors usually have more experience in regulation, as well as directly working on Wall Street, which makes her a bit of an outlier. But there is no doubt she won’t do great. Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney in Manhattan, told The Washington Post, “She found a way to try international terrorists in the court of law, which has never been done before,” Bharara said. “She can figure out how to deliver for the American people at the SEC.”
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
What do you think about having more women patrolling Wall Street? Tell us in the comments.