Another of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2014 was Mary Jo White, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. She is on the First Woman To. . . list because she was the first woman to serve as a U.S. Attorney in Manhattan. In fact, she is the only woman in 200 years who has ever served in that position.
She has decades of experience as a federal prosecutor and securities lawyer, specializing in complex securities and financial institution fraud as well as cases of international terrorism. Prior to her confirmation at SEC the Huffington Post called her “a well-respected attorney who won high-profile cases against mobsters, terrorists, and financial fraudsters over the course of nearly a decade as the U. S. Attorney for Manhattan.” Under her auspices, convictions against the 1993 bombers of the World Trade Center and the bombers of the American embassies in Africa were prosecuted successfully, as was John Gotti.
Because she wants to change disclosure requirements and perhaps streamline them for corporations, some say she is too ready to support corporations. They point to her private practice where she supported corporations in litigation. Others, however, cite this experience as a balance that makes her able to see both sides of the issues.
One of the things she would like to change is the “no admit, no deny” statements from offenders. She believes that those who violate the law, even corporations, should have to apologize as part of their plea deals.
In his book Above the Law, Elie Mystal says that she is “the kind of partner that makes other partners stammer, shuffle papers, and try to look really busy and intelligent when she’s in the room. She’s not a screamer, she’s not mean or dismissive. She’s just deadly serious and committed to getting things done.”
Her official SEC bio: https://www.sec.gov/about/commissioner/white.htm#.U5i5exb82lI
Her efforts to implement changes at SEC: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-06/mary-jo-white-gets-high-frequency-embrace-with-sec-plan.html
For more on the Time 100: http://time.com/time100-2014/