U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday unveiled a new team of financial regulators under his incoming administration.
He named Mary Schapiro, CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority as head of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) while choosing Gary Gensler, a former undersecretary for treasury, to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
The president-elect also selected Daniel Tarullo, one of his economic policy advisers, to an open seat on the Federal Reserve Board.
Obama made the announcements at a press conference at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, Illinois starting 1045 eastern time (1545 GMT).
"Financial reform will be one of the top priorities of my administration," he said, noting that he is announcing his picks months before prior president-elects have made their selections.
"I am announcing these appointments months earlier than previous administrations have. These individuals will help put in place new, common-sense rules of the road that will protect investors, consumers, and our entire economy from fraud and manipulation by an irresponsible few," said the president-elect.
"These rules will reward the industriousness and entrepreneurial spirit that's always been the engine of our prosperity, and crack down on the culture of greed and scheming that has led us to this day of reckoning," Obama said.
Schapiro, 53, who will be the first woman to chair the SEC, is currently chief executive of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the largest non-government regulator for securities firms that do business with the U.S. public.
She would replace Christopher Cox as chair of the SEC, the nation's main watchdog over publicly traded companies.
Schapiro is a former SEC commissioner who briefly served as the agency's acting chair in 1993.
She also was chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 1994, during the Clinton administration.
Obama's announcement comes amid criticism of the current SEC chairman for the agency's apparent failure to act on information that could have prevented one of the largest investment fraud cases in Wall Street history.
Gensler, 51, spent 18 years at Goldman Sachs, becoming head of the company's fixed income and currency trading operation in Tokyo by the mid-1990.
As the Treasury Department's undersecretary in the Clinton administration, he oversaw policies in the areas of U.S. financial markets.
Tarullo, 57, teaches international economic regulation at Georgetown University.
He worked in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1998, successively as assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, deputy assistant to the president for economic policy, and assistant to the president for international economic policy.
From 1995 to 1998 he was also then-President Bill Clinton's personal representative to the G8 group of industrialized nations.
Since winning the presidential race on Nov. 4, Obama is filling important posts of the new administration quickly.
The two remaining unfilled cabinet posts are secretary of transportation and secretary of labour.
Obama is expected to name retiring Illinois Rep. Ray LaHood, a Republican, to lead the Transportation Department on Friday.
The next labor secretary remains unknown.