Nov. 26, 2012 at 10:59 AM ET
Mary Schapiro is stepping down next month as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Wall Street watchdog announced Monday.
The agency said in a statement that she would relinquish the position she held since January 2009, when the nation was still wrestling with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, on Dec. 14, 2012.
The White House said in a statement that President Barack Obama would be designating SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter to succeed Schapiro.
"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," the White House's statement said.
The New York Times reported earlier Monday that the SEC told the White House and the Treasury Department recently that Schapiro, 57, would leave next month.
Schapiro's decision had been widely expected. The Times said she had told staff members that she was exhausted after nearly four years at the helm of the agency and that she would like to step down after the November elections.
“It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to work with so many dedicated SEC staff who strive every day to protect investors and ensure our markets operate with integrity,” Schapiro said in a statement. “Over the past four years we have brought a record number of enforcement actions, engaged in one of the busiest rulemaking periods, and gained greater authority from Congress to better fulfill our mission.”
The SEC said that Schapiro is one of the longest-serving SEC chairmen, having served for longer than 24 of the pervious 28. She oversaw the agency during one of its most difficult periods, including a barrage of criticism that the agency was weak and inefficient in the years leading up to the financial crisis.