For nearly eight years, Arthur Levitt has served as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Levitt announced earlier this week that he would step down before mid-February. Appointed through 2003, by President Clinton in July 1993, Levitt is the Commission's 25th chairman and has become the longest serving chairman on the Commission.
On Wednesday, Levitt told the Commission staff that, "In the last few days, I've notified the White House as well as the incoming Administration that I intend to step down as SEC chairman early next year. While I look forward to my return to private life and the beginning of new challenges, this is a day I knew would come but long have dreaded."
In his announcement this week, he paid thanks to fellow Commissioners, his office staff and his family. Levitt said that he he has just one regret. "We spent the last year trying to secure what all of you so plainly deserve: pay parity. I am disappointed that Congress passed our budget without that provision," said Levitt. "And while I may not be here, you can bet that I will still be calling anybody on the Hill who will take my call to press the case until this injustice is corrected."
President-elect Bush will appoint a successor to Levitt, but if the process takes longer than expected, Commissioner Laura Unger would likely serve as an interim chairwoman.
Levitt, the former chairman of the American Stock Exchange, had a number of accomplishments during his SEC chairmanship, including the Fair Disclosure rule which makes corporate information available to investors at all levels, and the very high profile matter of auditor independence.
Take a moment to read the extremely passionate farewell address of a man who touched the lives of everyone in the financial professions.
Arthur Levitt's Bio