(By Balachander) U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that its Chairman Mary Schapiro will step down on Dec. 14, 2012.
Schapiro became chairman in the wake of the financial crisis in January 2009. She is one of the longest-serving SEC chairmen, having served longer than 24 of the previous 28.
Schapiro previously served as a commissioner at the SEC from 1988 to 1994. She was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, reappointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1989, and named Acting Chairman by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Chairman Schapiro left the SEC when President Clinton appointed her as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, where she served until 1996. She is the only person to have ever served as chairman of both the SEC and CFTC.
Schapiro worked to bolster the SEC's enforcement and examination programs, among others, during her tenure.
In each of the past two years, the agency said it has brought more enforcement actions than ever before, including 735 enforcement actions in fiscal year 2011 and 734 actions in FY 2012.
Since FY 2009, the agency noted it has identified and tracked down investors who were harmed by wrongdoing, and returned $6.75 billion to them.
During Chairman Schapiro's tenure, the agency said it worked to improve the structure of the market by approving a series of measures that have helped to strengthen equity market structure and reduce the chance of another Flash Crash.
Updated: President Obama announced his plans to designate Elisse Walter, a current Commissioner, as SEC Chairman after Mary's departure.