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Lobby's Co-CEO Quit After Probe
SIFMA was formed in November through the combination of the Securities Industry Association, the trade group for stock sellers, and the BMA, the group for bond sellers, to create a more forceful, cost-effective voice for the financial-services industry. Lackritz had been president of the securities group, and Green had been president of the bond association.
The combined group is Wall Street's main mouthpiece as well as its heftiest political benefactor. When added together, SIFMA's political action committees gave more than $1 million during the 2006 election season, putting the organization in the top 25 of all PACs. Its combined $8.5 million in spending on federal lobbying last year placed it in the top 30.
The financial-services industry is the biggest corporate player in national politics. Only organized labor donates more money to candidates for federal offices.
Lackritz has been a friend, colleague and mentor of Green's for two decades. Lackritz hired Green as a lobbyist in 1987 when Lackritz headed the Washington office of the Public Securities Association, a predecessor of the BMA. When Lackritz took over the Washington office of the Securities Industry Association in 1990, Green took his job at the Public Securities Association.
Lackritz went on to become chief executive of the Securities Industry Association in 1992, and Green became chief executive of the BMA in 2001.
"We finish each other's sentences," Lackritz once said of Green.
Recently SIFMA got a new chief financial officer. It had originally chosen the BMA's finance chief, Hugh Moore. But in early April, Moore announced his retirement and SIFMA said the executive vice president of the former Securities Industry Association, Donald D. Kittell, would stay on as the combined group's top finance officer. "Hugh Moore took an early retirement for personal reasons," SIFMA spokeswoman Christina Martin said.
Martin said that the primary reason for the board's decision to have only one leader was its belief that a single chief executive was needed to streamline the organization quickly. "In the spring, concern was mounting over the lack of progress on the merger integration," she said. "It was becoming clear that a single CEO was necessary to increase the speed of decision-making and establish a clear chain of command. Accelerating the integration process was a key factor in the CEO decision; the additional facts were also taken into consideration."
Green also acknowledged that the board was eager to move more rapidly to combine the two groups. "Integrating the two organizations was taking longer than anyone had originally hoped," he said. "Going to a single CEO was needed to facilitate the integration process."
He added that he, the association and its leader, Lackritz, remain close. "Marc and I are dear friends and continue to be," he said. "Now there's one leader, and there had to be."