Three months after her departure from the Securities and Exchange Commission, former Chairwoman Mary Schapiro has been nominated to join the board of General Electric. If she accepts, she will be the third former regulatory chief to join a board of directors this year.
While some move into legal or professorial positions, it is not uncommon for some of the top regulatory talent to offer their services to the corporate sector after their terms are up. According to former SEC Commissioner Harvey J. Goldschmid, who served under George W. Bush and is now a professor of law at Columbia University, the knowledge gained in the oversight role can be a boon for the company.
“The experience in Washington certainly would be excellent experience for understanding issues that would come before the modern financial or industrial corporation,” Goldschmid said. “I can imagine why GE would want to reach out to Mary Schapiro.”
Goldschmid himself served on a company board for the Greenwall Foundation, a grant-making nonprofit, before and after his term with the SEC. He said he enjoyed the role because he found the work important, although it paid only in the four-figure range.
In some cases, the firm that the former regulatory chief joins may seem unrelated as a number joined bio-tech or healthcare companies. There may be some strategy behind that move, however, as the former regulators would be prohibited from using certain government or regulatory knowledge in the private sector, Goldschmid said.
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