Mary Jo White ’74 Nominated by President Barack Obama to Head SEC

White spent nearly a decade as U.S. attorney of the Southern District of New York.

New York, January 24, 2013—Columbia Law School alumna and former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White ’74 was tapped by President Barack Obama Thursday to become the next chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mary Jo White '74
"I am absolutely confident that Mary Jo has the experience and the resolve to tackle these complex issues," Obama said, noting the challenges facing the agency.
As U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1993 to 2002, White oversaw some of the country’s highest profile national security prosecutions, including the case against the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the initial investigation into the attacks of September 11, 2001.
"Mary Jo is the perfect person for this extraordinarily important responsibility, and we are tremendously proud of her close connection to Columbia Law School,” said David M. Schizer, Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law and Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law and Economics.
White is currently a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York, which she joined after leaving the U.S. attorney’s office. Her nomination must be confirmed by the Senate.
"Mary Jo is tough, pragmatic, and has a first-rate mind (as demonstrated early in her career by her performance at the Law School),”said Columbia Law School Professor Harvey J. Goldschmid, a former SEC commissioner and general counsel. “She has been a great success everywhere she has been. There is every reason to cheer her nomination."
White would join a long list of distinguished Columbia Law School alumni who currently hold key federal government positions, including: Preet Bharara ’93, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Antony “Tony” Blinken ’88, National Security Adviser to Vice President Biden; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg '59; Eric H. Holder, Jr. ’76, U.S. Attorney General; Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. ’83, U.S. Solicitor General; and Andrew Weissmann ’84, General Counsel, FBI.
Columbia Law School Magazine profiled White in 2010. And in April 2012, White spoke to students about tools to combat terrorism.