Mary Jo White Announces SEC Exit as Speculation Swirls Around Potential Successor

Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White will exit the agency in January after almost four years in the job, the the first major Obama appointee to step down since Donald Trump's surprise election last week.

White, who became the 31st chair of the SEC in April 2013, announced in a statement on Monday that she will leave her position when Obama hands over the Presidency next year. "My duty has been to ensure that the Commission implemented strong investor and market protections, and to establish an enduring foundation for future progress in the most critical areas - asset management regulation, equity market structure and disclosure effectiveness," she said. "Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the SEC's staff, we have accomplished both."

White's announcement marks the first of what are likely to be a number resignations to be handed in at the federal level in the weeks to come. White was expected to leave even if Hillary Clinton had prevailed.

As chair of the SEC, White, a former federal prosecutor and securities lawyer, brought more than 2,850 enforcement actions, more than in any other three-year period in the commission's history, and obtained judgments and orders totaling more than $13.4 billion in monetary sanctions, according to the SEC. The agency charged over 3,300 companies and 2,700 individuals during her tenure.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew called White a "tireless leader in the effort to ensure that our financial markets are safe, secure and fair to investors and the public alike" in a statement and complemented her on "having skillfully steered the commission to develop enhanced investor protection regulations so critical to maintaining the public's trust" in American financial markets.

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