William H. Donaldson will resign from the SEC on June 30, the SEC announced today.
"When I assumed the chairmanship of the Securities and Exchange Commission roughly two and one-half years ago, public confidence was severely undermined, reflecting the corporate and financial scandals that had shaken the nation," Mr. Donaldson said in a news release. "Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the many professionals who serve at the SEC, this period has represented an extraordinarily active and effective time for the agency. It may well be remembered as the most consequential and productive period … since its founding in 1934."
Mr. Donaldson was chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange from 1991 to 1995. He was also president and CEO of Aetna Inc. from 2000 to 2001, and he co-founded investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc., serving as chairman and CEO from 1959 through 1973; he also was senior adviser to the firm from 1996 to 2000.
"I give him high marks," said David G. Tittsworth, executive director of the Investment Adviser Association. Mr. Donaldson drove through three significant areas of regulation: mutual funds, hedge funds and market structure. "He took difficult stands in each of those three big rules, and he held his ground," Mr. Tittsworth said.
Mr. Tittsworth noted that the market structure rules, passed in April, exposed a rift among the five commissioners. Mr. Donaldson voted in favor of the regulation along with Democratic commissioners Roel Campos and Harvey Goldschmid, while Republicans Cynthia Glassman and Paul Atkins voted against the rule. Mr. Goldschmid also is expected to resign this year.