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Sheila Bair to step down as FDIC chairwoman

Her five-year term as head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is nearing an end, and she has said she does not want to be reappointed. Bair will leave in July.

May 10, 2011|By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
  • Sheila Bair, who has drawn bipartisan praise for her work at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., had said she did not want to be reappointed.
Sheila Bair, who has drawn bipartisan praise for her work at the Federal… (John Zich, Bloomberg )

Reporting from Washington — Sheila C. Bair will step down July 8 as chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the agency said, and her top deputy is her likely replacement.

Bair's departure had been expected. Her five-year term as chairwoman ends next month, and she was clear in stating that she did not want to be reappointed.

"Consistent with previous public statements, Chairman Bair has announced her intention to depart the agency following the expiration of her term as chairman," the FDIC said Monday. She will stay on for the FDIC board's meeting during the first week of July, the agency said.

President Obama is expected to nominate a successor soon. The favorite is Martin J. Gruenberg, the vice chairman of the FDIC board, who served as acting chairman for about seven months before Bair's appointment.

A White House spokeswoman declined to comment Monday. The nomination must be confirmed by the Senate.

Bair was a key player in the government's response to the financial crisis in 2008 and has drawn bipartisan praise for her work at the independent agency, which helps regulate banks, deals with failed institutions and insures depositors' accounts.

A Republican originally appointed by President George W. Bush, Bair was willing to step down when Obama took office in 2009. But Obama had been impressed with her work during the crisis and asked her to stay on the job.

Bair was mentioned last year as a possible candidate to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but she reportedly was not interested in the job.

jim.puzzanghera@latimes.com

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