Schapiro's next gig looks to be at GE

Former SEC chairman's nomination will be voted on by shareholders on April 24

Mar 11, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

By Andrew Osterland

Mary Schapiro, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has been nominated to the board of directors of General Electric Co.

Ms. Schapiro, a longtime securities regulator, served as SEC chairman from January 2009 through December 2012 — a period during which unprecedented demands were placed on the agency following the financial crisis. Ms. Shapiro resigned from the SEC a year before her term was to expire.

“Mary Schapiro will bring valuable expertise to GE, particularly with her experience overseeing U.S. financial markets,” said Jeffrey Immelt, the company's chairman and chief executive. “Her understanding of corporate governance and financial regulation will be of great benefit to GE and its shareowners.”

In 1988, Ms. Schapiro was appointed to the SEC at the age of 33 by President Ronald Reagan and was reappointed by George H. W. Bush a year later. She served briefly as acting chairman of the agency before being appointed chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 1994. She joined the regulatory arm of the National Association of Securities Dealers as president in 1996 and oversaw the merger of that organization with the regulatory arm of the New York Stock Exchange to form the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. in 2007, becoming head of the new entity.

Ms. Schapiro's nomination to the GE board will be voted on by shareholders on April 24. If elected, she will be paid $250,000 annually, compared with the $163,000 salary she reportedly made at the SEC. Seth Martin, a spokesman for GE, said the company would not determine board committee memberships until after the election of directors.

Elisse Walter, a Democratic commissioner at the SEC, was appointed chairman of the agency after Ms. Schapiro announced her departure. Mary Jo White, a former federal prosecutor now a partner with the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, is undergoing Senate confirmation hearings for the position.

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