Arthur Levitt

Arthur Levitt was the twenty-fifth and longest serving chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. First appointed by President Clinton in July 1993, the President reappointed Chairman Levitt to a second five year term in May 1998.  He left the commission on Feb 9, 2001.

Investor protection was Chairman Levitt's top priority.  Throughout his tenure, Chairman Levitt worked to educate, empower, and protect America's investors. In a series of moves designed to enhance efficiency and improve competitiveness, Chairman Levitt initiated the most sweeping changes to US securities markets since the creation of the SEC.   These innovative policies constituted a regulatory framework which revolutionized the structure of security markets creating, for the first time, for-profit exchanges, alternative trading systems, and electronic markets, while maintaining customer protection and market transparency.

Key policy initiatives include strengthening the independence of auditors and the profession’s self-regulatory functions, leveling the playing field for all investors through regulation fair disclosure, requiring companies to release important information to all investors at the same time and bringing reform to municipal debt markets by eliminating pay-to-play and improving price transparency.

Before joining the commission, Mr. Levitt owned Roll Call, a newspaper covering Congress. From 1989 to 1993, he served as chairman of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and from 1978 to 1989 he was chairman of the American Stock Exchange. He worked for the Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and Time Magazine before working for sixteen years on Wall Street.

He is presently a senior advisor to The Carlyle Group, Goldman Sachs, Promontory Financial Group and GETCO, LLC, a member of the Board of Bloomberg LLP and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College in 1952 before serving for two years in the US Air Force.

Levitt’s bestselling book, Take on the Street: What Wall Street and Corporate America Don’t Want You to Know/What You Can Do to Fight Back was published by Pantheon Books in October 2002. 

Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2010