This morning Barack Obama announced his pick for chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission: It's Mary Schapiro, who headed the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and its successor, the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (Finra).
Ms. Schapiro, 53 years old, will take over an agency beset by problems, from its failure to catch red flags in the alleged $50 billion Madoff fraud to accusations of lax oversight of Wall Street banks.
Out of the gate, Ms. Schapiro faces potential controversy. In 2001 she appointed Mark Madoff, son of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff, to the board of the National Adjudicatory Council, the national committee that reviews initial decisions rendered in Finra disciplinary and membership proceedings.
Sounds- um, that sounds like the kind of thing that gets a person dragged back and forth through the mud of public opinion, even if everybody goes hoarse denying wrongdoing. That does not sound fun.
Becoming SEC chief means a pay cut for Ms. Schapiro, who earned $2.1 million counting deferred compensation at NASD in 2005. The SEC job pays $158,500 a year.
Nice work, president-elect Obama. Mary Schapiro can't even perform a simple cost-benefit analysis.
Good thing you put her in charge of the nation's securities markets. She'll fit right in.
Tags: Barack Obama, SEC