WASHINGTON Jan 20 Mary Jo White, the former
U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, is being
considered as a candidate to head up the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission, a source familiar with the matter has
If she were selected, White would become the third-ever
female chairman of the SEC and replace current Chairman Elisse
Walter, a commissioner who took over as chairman in December
after Mary Schapiro stepped down.
The source, who declined to be named, did not provide any
additional details because the deliberations over the SEC
chairman candidacy are not public. Bloomberg first reported last
week that White was among those in the running.
White did not immediately respond to an e-mail requesting a
comment. A White House spokeswoman declined to comment.
It is unclear if Walter is also being considered for a
permanent spot, and she has not publicly expressed her
ambitions. Walter is able to continue serving as chairman until
the end of the year. After that, she would need to be
re-confirmed again by the U.S. Senate in order to remain at the
Until a fifth person is tapped by the White House, the SEC
currently remains divided between two Democrats and two
Republicans - a fact that many believe could slow the agency
down and make it harder to finalize controversial rules, such as
the Volcker rule to ban banks' proprietary trading and
capital-raising measures like a proposal to lift a ban on
White, now a well-known and respected white collar defense
attorney with Debevoise and Plimpton, became the only female in
the 200-year history of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the
Southern District, to serve in the top spot there. She served
from 1993 through 2002.
She also once served as a director at the Nasdaq Stock
Market as well as on its executive, audit and policy committee.
If she is ultimately tapped by the White House, however, it
is unclear how some of the more liberal U.S. senators might
react given the fact White has been so heavily involved in
defending big banks for their roles in the financial crisis.
Last year, White represented JPMorgan Chase & Co in
its portion of the $25 billion multibank settlement reached to
resolve allegations of mortgage servicing abuses.
She also represented former Bank of America Corp CEO
Ken Lewis over a civil lawsuit in connection with Bank of
America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch.