The SEC announced yesterday that on December 14 of this year Mary Schapiro will step down as Chairman. Chairman Schapiro took office in January 2009, making her term as chairman one of the longest in SEC history. She was appointed by President Obama in the midst of the financial crisis. Schapiro brought decades of experience to the position, being first appointed as a commissioner by President Reagan in 1988.

During her tenure the SEC brought a record number of enforcement actions, including an average of 50 Ponzi scheme actions per year. She oversaw SEC actions related to the financial crisis against many of the largest names in the banking and finance industry. Chairman Schapiro also oversaw the SEC’s rulemaking in compliance with the new Dodd-Frank Act.

Sitting commissioner Elisse B. Walter will take over as Chairman. Ms. Walter was appointed as a commissioner by President Bush in 2008, and previously served as a Vice President for both FINRA and NASD. Prior to that she worked as General Counsel to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Because she is a sitting commissioner, Ms. Walter does not need to be confirmed by the Senate and will take over immediately after Chairman Schapiro retires.

Read the SEC Press Release on Chairman Schapiro’s announced retirement here.