New SEC Chairwoman Is a Mafia-Killer

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- President Obama on Thursday will name Mary Jo White, a former New York prosecutor, to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to various press reports.

White, currently chair of the litigation department at Debevoise & Plimpton, was the first woman to be appointed as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. She held that position between 1993 and 2002, when she famously prosecuted mafia boss John Gotti and the perpetrators behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

White's practice now concentrates on internal investigations and defense of companies and individuals accused by the government of involvement in white collar corporate crime or SEC and civil securities law violations.

It will be the first time a former prosecutor has been named as the head of the SEC and signals a tougher regulatory regime for Wall Street. White will replace Elisse Water, who took over as chairwoman after Mary Schapiro stepped down in late 2012.

Obama will also reconfirm Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday afternoon, according to reports.

"Mary Jo White was a tough, smart, no nonsense, broadly experienced and highly accomplished prosecutor. She knew who the bad guys were, went after them and put them in prison when they broke the law," said Dennis Kelleher, CEO of regulatory think tank Better Markets. "That's what must happen if integrity and investor confidence is to be restored in our securities markets."

-- Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York.