The Securities and Exchange Commission named Linda C. Thomsen to head the agency's enforcement division succeeding Stephen Cutler, who is leaving the regulator this month for a post in the private sector.

The appointment makes Thomsen, 50, the first woman to hold the top enforcement post at the SEC. A former federal prosecutor for Maryland, she came aboard the SEC in 1995 as assistant chief litigation counsel. She has served as deputy enforcement director since January 2002.

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