Duo tipped to battle it out for SEC chairman role

by Joseph Goldstein in Washington

30 Oct 2008

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Christopher Cox
Christopher Cox

The attorney general of the state of New York and a current SEC commissioner are being tipped as the front-runners to replace Christopher Cox as the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

As the US presidential election draws closer, speculation is mounting about who a new president will appoint in Cox’s place. Cox has been a great supporter of international accounting standards.

One name in the frame is Andrew Cuomo, the attorney general of the state of New York. Oddly, Cuomo ­ the son of former New York governor and leading Democrat Mario Cuomo ­ was first floated as a candidate for the SEC post by John McCain, the Republican nominee during an interview last month. So far, Barack Obama has not publicly addressed the issue.

But John Coffee, law professor at Columbia University, thought that one current SEC commissioner, Elisse Walter, would also be an ‘obvious person’ to include on any shortlist for the chairman’s job.

An incoming president usually picks an SEC chairman within six months of taking office.

Cuomo is a Democrat who was President Clinton’s housing secretary. But accounting professor at the University of North Carolina Wayne Landsman said he might lose to an insider because ‘SEC commissioners tend to be securities lawyers’.

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