Bush chooses lawyer to head SEC

But a formal announcement has yet to be made and Pitt’s appointment would have to be confirmed by the US Senate, according to reports on NYTimes.com.

A spokesperson for the SEC said no date had yet been set for the Senate hearing, adding an official announcement could be a few weeks away.

Pitt served as general counsel at the SEC in the 1970s under Jimmy Carter and is considered the frontrunner, among a range of candidates, to succeed Arthur Levitt, the longest-serving SEC chairman who resigned in February this year.

The post requires that the candidate sever all financial ties with investment banks and brokers. The $131,7000 (Pounds 92,700) annual salary is considered low by Wall Street standards, and many likely candidates, including those from Wall Street firms and academic institutions, have withdrawn from the running.

Pitt, who is a senior partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in the firm’s Washington office, has worked with such high-profile clients as American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Lloyds of London.

Laura Unger, who has been acting chairman since 12 February 2001, issued a statement giving her full support for Pitt?s appointment.

‘I have the highest regard for Harvey both personally and professionally. He has a thorough understanding of the securities law and will serve the agency he knows and respects with great enthusiasm,’ she said.


Lawyer favourite to take reins at SEC

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