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From Securities Regulation Daily, November 12, 2013

President Obama nominates TARP overseer Timothy Massad as new CFTC chairman

By Lene Powell, J.D.

President Obama has nominated Timothy Massad, assistant secretary for the Office of Financial Stability at the Department of the Treasury (DOT), as the new chair of the CFTC. Current Chairman Gary Gensler, whose term ended in April, will leave at the end of the year.

After joining the DOT in May 2009 as the chief counsel for the Office of Financial Stability, Massad was confirmed in June 2011 as the assistant secretary for Financial Stability. In this role, Massad has overseen the implementation and wind down of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

President Obama said Massad has “quietly been very successful” at winding down TARP, and that Massad does not seek the spotlight but consistently delivers. The president praised the outgoing Chairman Gensler for his service to the American people. President Obama said he was confident that Massad would carry those same values with him.

The president also took the opportunity to urge Congress to increase funding for the CFTC, observing that the agency has had to drop some open enforcement cases due to lack of resources. “We have come too far and sacrificed too much to go back to the old days,” President Obama said.

Massad background. Before joining DOT, Massad was a partner with the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York. His practice focused on corporate finance, international transactions, and representation of some of the firm’s corporate clients.

Massad received a B.A. from Harvard College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is married, has two children, and lives in Washington, D.C.

Reaction. In a statement, Chairman Gensler congratulated Massad on the opportunity to lead the CFTC, and said he would work to ensure a smooth transition.

SIFMA congratulated Massad on the nomination. “Should he be confirmed, his combination of legal expertise and industry knowledge will benefit the CFTC as it continues its important and challenging work to implement the new regulatory framework under Dodd-Frank."

Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.) said in a statement that Gensler is leaving big shoes to fill, and that he looks forward to working with Massad to ensure that “our futures and derivatives markets serve the needs of producers and consumers, and are not vulnerable to the whims of manipulators.”

Dennis Kelleher, president and CEO of watchdog group Better Markets, praised the outgoing Gensler. He stated, “The importance of the CFTC Chairman to the American people cannot be overstated, but it is too often a thankless, politically unpopular job that requires independence, determination, core values and real courage…It is the Senate’s duty in the confirmation process to determine whether Mr. Massad has the qualifications and guts for the job.”

MainStory: TopStory CFTCNews CommodityFutures Derivatives

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