President Obama has named Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and reappointed Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB).  Cordray is currently serving in that capacity through a recess appointment by the President.

White is a former U.S. attorney in New York, the first woman to hold that position.  She oversaw a number of high-profile prosecutions including that of mob boss John Gotti and the persons responsible for the first World Trade Center bombing.  She is currently a partner at the Debevoise and Plimpton law firm where the New York Times notes she has defended Kenneth D. Lewis, a former head of Bank of America and was hired last year by the N.F.L. to investigate allegations about the New Orleans Saints and an alleged bounty system for hurting opponents.

Cordray was appointed by the President last January after the Senate balked at confirming anyone to head the new CFPB.  Since his appointment Cordray has overseen the promulgation of rules related to several controversial provisions of the Dodd-Frank act.  His oversight of the rulemaking process has been widely praised by those affected.  It is unclear whether the Senate has modified its attitude toward the Bureau sufficiently to ratify his permanent appointment.

According to the Times, the Administration made the appointments of the two former prosecutors (Cordray is also the former Attorney General of Ohio where he sued several big financial firms) to send a message about the importance of holding Wall Street accountable for wrongdoing.

Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary said, "The president believes that appointment and the renomination he's making today demonstrate the commitment he has to carrying out Wall Street reform, making sure we have the rules of the road that are necessary and that are being enforced in a way" to avoid a crisis like that of 2008."

New York Attorney General Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman who has worked with both individuals released the following statement on the appointments.  "As U.S. Attorney, Ms. White demonstrated a strong commitment to aggressively enforcing one set of rules for all, and her outstanding record of bringing white collar criminals to justice speaks for itself. She is a tough, experienced prosecutor, which is exactly what the SEC needs right now to restore investor confidence.

"Director Cordray has played a critically important role in developing a regulatory framework that ensures consumers are protected, and our economy is not vulnerable to another financial meltdown. He deserves to continue the critical work he's started."