Securities & Exchange Commission Chairman Steps Down - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Securities & Exchange Commission Chairman Steps Down

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Mary Schapiro is stepping down as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission after helping lead the U.S. government's regulatory response to the 2008 financial crisis. 

The SEC says Schapiro will leave on Dec. 14. She was appointed by President Barack Obama in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. She took over after the agency failed to detect the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme. 

Schapiro is credited with helping reshaping the agency during a tumultuous period. But critics say she failed to act aggressively to bring charges against leading figures who contributed to the financial crisis.

President Barack Obama has chosen Elisse Walter, one of five members of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to lead the agency after Chairman Mary Schapiro leaves next month.

Walter, a Democrat, was appointed to the SEC by President George W. Bush in July 2008. Before that, she was a senior official at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the securities industry's self-policing organization. Walter also served under Schapiro at FINRA, who headed the organization before becoming SEC Chairman in January 2009. 

Obama said in a statement: "I'm confident that Elisse's years of experience will serve her well in her new position, and I'm grateful she has agreed to help lead the agency."

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