Mary Schapiro, one of Barack Obama's first important economic appointments — who became one of his most controversial — will be leaving her post as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission next month. Schaprio took the job in 2008 just as some of Wall Street's top financial institutions were crumbling and the commission was coming under heavy fire for failing to prevent the collapse of Lehman Brothers or catch on to the billion-dollar ponzi scheme run for years by Bernie Madoff.
The vacancy gives the president an important challenge heading into his second term, as two of the enduring themes of his re-election campaign were that he has lost all of his support on Wall Street, while (according to the Occupy Wall Street side of things) he was simultaneously not being tough enough when it came to regulating our "too big to fail" banks. According to Dealbook, Shapiro was run down by the demands of the job and the constant criticisms from all sides, and has been telling staff for more than a year that she would be gone after the November elections.
Two other women, Treasury Department official Mary Miller and former Bank of America executive Sallie Krawcheck are reportedly on the short list of
possible replacements. Krawcheck is one of the most successful women bankers in U.S. history and is a popular talking head on CNBC (and Twitter), after helping to save Bank of America's troubled acquisition of Merrill Lynch and leading BofA's wealth management division to record profits in the midst of the financial crisis.
UPDATE: President Obama has designated fellow S.E.C. commissioner Elisse B. Walter as the new chair. Dealbook had suggested that Walter would be the interim chair, but appears she will be the permanent replacement. Walter does not require Congressional approval since she was already approved as a commissioner.
In other banker news, just moments before Schapiros' announcement the Bank of England named Mark Carney—a Canadian!—to be the central bank's new Governor. Carney was named Central Bank Governor of the Year for 2012 for his steady hand with Canadian monetary policy.