SEC chief Donaldson steps down today

Securities and Exchange Commission chairman William Donaldson has stepped
down after two and a half years at the helm, with homeland security chief
Christopher Cox taking over.

The 74-year-old Donaldson’s reign saw record fines against companies and
sweeping new rules for the capital markets. It is hoped by many that his
successor will be less rules-driven and that he will be able to encourage and
oversee a more flexible financial regime.

Cox spent 20 years in Congress in the house of representatives and was a
senior partner at law firm Latham & Watkins.

Cox introduced the 1995 private securities litigation reform act and the 1998
securities uniform standards act.

The first bill made it more difficult for plaintiffs to file class action
suits against companies, corporate managers and public auditors; and restricted
the awards when plaintiffs won. The second act required class action lawsuits
brought because of accounting issues to be filed in the federal court.

However, Cox has twice opposed Financial Accounting Standards Board proposals
on merger accounting and expensing stock options.

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