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SEC enforcement chief is latest to leave agency

January 09, 2013|By Andrew Tangel
  • Robert Khuzami, who revamped the Securities and Exchange Commission's enforcement division after the agency failed to stop Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, is stepping down. He's pictured above at a news conference in November.
Robert Khuzami, who revamped the Securities and Exchange Commission's… (Sean Gardner / Getty Images )

Robert Khuzami, who revamped the Securities and Exchange Commission's enforcement division after the agency failed to stop Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, is stepping down.

Khuzami, a former federal prosecutor and general counsel for Deutsche Bank, becomes the latest senior SEC official to leave as President Obama's second term gets underway.

Mary Schapiro stepped down as chairman of the agency in mid-December. The SEC lost two other major figures last month: Robert Cook, who was head of the SEC's division of trading and markets; and Meredith Cross, who was director of the agency's division of corporation finance.

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The void means Chairman Elisse Walter could significantly reshape the agency by picking their replacements.

Aside from Schapiro, Khuzami was the most visible regulator after Madoff's fraud and the financial crisis that plunged the economy into turmoil.

During Khuzami's tenure, the SEC brought major insider-trading cases, many of them resulting from the investigation of hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.

The SEC also embarked on a major overhaul of how it collects and analyzes tips and complaints. The agency also launched a program that offered leniency in exchange for cooperation in investigations, and opened an office to gather complaints from whistle-blowers.

“Rob’s leadership and bold ideas transformed and reinvigorated the enforcement program,” Walter said in a statement. “Under his direction, the division not only produced record results, but embraced changes that in the years to come will enable the talented staff to better protect investors through increased efficiency, expertise, and strategic focus.”

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