President-elect Barack Obama has named Mary Schapiro as the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, replacing Christopher Cox.

"Mary is known as a regulator both smart and tough, so much so that she's been criticized by the very industry insiders who we need to get tough on," said Obama.

Cox had been expected to step down at the end of the Bush administration and he has been criticized for not doing more to regulate dubious investments that have contributed to the financial crisis. He praised Schapiro, 53, who has been CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The self-regulatory organization was formed after the National Association of Securities Dealers merged with the New York Stock Exchange's member regulation organization.

Schapiro (pictured) was formerly the NASD's chairman and CEO. Before joining the NASD, she was chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. She has also served as an SEC commissioner.

"I commend President-elect Obama on his outstanding choice of Mary Schapiro to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission after my service ends next month," said Cox. "I have worked closely with Mary for many years on a wide range of financial industry and market regulation efforts, including the creation of FINRA and the protection of senior investors, and she has always been a consummate professional. Her experience at both the CFTC and SEC will be invaluable in tackling the challenges of regulatory restructuring that the next Congress will face."

Obama also appointed former Treasury Undersecretary Gary Gensler to lead the CFTC. In the wake of the Bernard Madoff scandal, Obama emphasized the need for fundamental reform of the regulatory agencies. "We will crack down on this culture of greed and scheming that has led us to this day of reckoning," he said. "We have been asleep at the switch, not just some of the regulatory agencies, but also some of the congressional committees that might have been taking a look at this stuff."

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