Magazine article American Banker

Glowing Words for Donaldson, Bush's Pick to Head SEC

Magazine article American Banker

Glowing Words for Donaldson, Bush's Pick to Head SEC

Article excerpt

The initial reception to President Bush's selection of William Donaldson as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission seemed as warm as Harvey Pitt's resignation from the post was bitter.

Mr. Donaldson will have the difficult task of restoring investor confidence in the markets and morale at the beleaguered agency, but supporters lined up to suggest that he was capable of accomplishing it.

That Mr. Donaldson was a founding member of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, an investment banking firm that merged with Credit Suisse First Boston in 2000, is a key to his Wall Street credibility. The strength of the appointment, however, may lie in his varied experience -- most recently he was chairman and CEO of Aetna Inc. and before that he was chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.

He has once before cleared the stringent vetting process for federal government appointees, serving as under secretary of state and counsel to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller.

He has academic credentials, too -- he was the founding dean and a professor at the Yale School of Management and now chairs its advisory board.

"He is an ideal candidate and a great catch for the administration," said Richard Roberts, a former SEC commissioner and now a Washington partner of Thelen, Reed & Priest. "I'm almost surprised they could talk him into it."

"His credentials are right within the gun sights of what (the administration) was looking for," said V. Gerard Comizio, a partner at Thacher Proffitt & Wood. …

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