Among the names being floated to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission are: Gary Gensler, a senior Treasury Department official during the Clinton administration; Robert C. Pozen, chairman, MFS Investment Management Inc., Boston; Damon Silvers, associate general counsel of the AFL-CIO, Washington; Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments LLC, Chicago; and three former SEC commissioners — Harvey Goldschmid, Roel Campos and Annette Nazareth.
Mr. Gensler, a fundraiser for and adviser to the president-elect, is said to have the inside track for the post. A former executive for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., New York, Mr. Gensler co-authored a 2002 book about investing, “The Great Mutual Fund Trap.” He could not be reached for comment.
“He'd be an excellent SEC chairman,” said Mark Iwry, who was benefits tax counsel at the Treasury Department in the Clinton administration and is now non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. Mr. Iwry also served as an adviser on retirement issues to the Obama campaign and is said to be in the running for two pension policy appointments in the incoming administration.
Ms. Hobson denied interest in the post. “I'm committed to Ariel,” she said in an interview. John W. Rogers Jr., Ariel's founder and chief executive officer, is a longtime supporter and friend of Mr. Obama, who reportedly spent much of the day after the election at Ariel's Chicago office.
“This is what I will be doing for the foreseeable future,” Ms. Hobson continued. “I am not going to Washington.”
Columbia University's Mr. Goldschmid did not return calls at deadline. But his rumored candidacy has garnered at least some union and industry support. “This is clearly a guy who knows the securities laws and the SEC,” said Mr. Tittsworth.
“We hope to see the appointment of an activist as chairman of the SEC,” said Richard Ferlauto, director of corporate governance and pension investment at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Washington. As examples, Mr. Ferlauto gave Mr. Goldschmid and James D. Cox, Brainerd Currie Professor of Law at Duke University, Durham, N.C.
“I expect to be considered (for the SEC chairmanship),” said Mr. Campos, who is now an attorney with the law firm of Cooley Godward Kronish LLP, Washington. Mr. Campos also said he was “very qualified” to fill the SEC's top position, though not certain that he's interested. “But I expect to be consulted and to offer advice on the selection of an SEC chairman,” Mr. Campos said.
Mr. Pozen had no comment, according to a spokesman. Ms. Nazareth, a former SEC commissioner and staffer, and Mr. Silvers also declined to comment.