Essay about Mary Schapiro and Leadership

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Mary Schapiro In her role at the SEC, Mary Schapiro was known as one of the world's most powerful female regulators. She was named chair in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. As chairman, she helped strengthen and revitalize the agency by overseeing a more rigorous enforcement program and shaping new rules for Wall Street. During her tenure, the agency's work force brought about a record number of enforcement actions and achieved significant regulatory reform to protect investors. Schapiro leaves behind an agency that has regained its footing, stature, and morale following desultory leadership under its previous two chairmen and its embarrassing lack of action preceding the financial crisis. Under…show more content…
The SEC has been the target of relentless criticism ranging from claims that it mishandled derivatives regulation, oversight of securities firms, and market risk, to assertions of delays and blunders and possible industry capture at the Division of Enforcement. These criticisms followed the Treasury Department's Blueprint of Financial Regulation-released in March 2008-that criticized the SEC's approach to regulation as obsolete and proposed a plan of regulatory consolidation that would effectively lead to the agency's demise. Most recently, the revelation that the SEC failed to discover a $50 billion Ponzi scheme at Madoff Investment Securities, despite having received allegations of wrongdoing for over a decade, suggests fundamental weaknesses in its core enforcement operations. To be successful at organizational change, however, a change leader must use the crisis to shake up the organization. This requires that the change leader "remove sources of complacency or minimize their impact" and take actions that are "bold or even risky." Kotter uses the concept of fire in a building as a proxy for crisis in an organization, writing that "conducting business as usual is very difficult if the building seems to be on fire."Interestingly, Chairman Schapiro invoked fire imagery in comments to reporters as she made changes to SEC operations shortly after taking office. Moreover,

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