Mary L. Schapiro announced on Monday that she will step down as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission in mid-December, and President Obama announced that he would designate Elisse Walter, one of the SEC’s Democratic commissioners, to replace her.
Schapiro, a longtime regulator, took over as head of the agency in January 2009, when the country was steeped in financial crisis and many were pointing fingers at the SEC for botching its job as Wall Street’s main regulator. Storied investment banks had collapsed. The Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme had surfaced. And critics wanted to shut the agency down.