Gensler Era At CFTC Ends

Jan 3 2014 | 11:44am ET

Gary Gensler, who proved an aggressive regulator in spite of his Wall Street background, ended his nearly five years atop the Commodity Futures Trading Commission today.

Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs partner, became one of the leading voices for tough new rules for his one-time colleagues, raising the profile of the CFTC, long seen as a very, very junior partner to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Gensler's push for stringent rules continued to the very end, as he held out for a stronger Volcker rule—barring banks from proprietary trading and strictly limiting their alternative investments activities—than original proposed and forcing through unpopular new swaps rules.

"His aggressiveness was exactly what was necessary," former SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said. She added, joking about Gensler's reputation for hard work and long hours, "at the end of the day, he was a deal-maker. Of course, it was really at the end of the day."

Gensler will be succeeded on an interim basis by CFTC Commissioner Mark Wetjen, a fellow Democrat with whom he frequently sparred. President Barack Obama has nominated former Treasury official Timothy Massad to take the job on a permanent basis.

Gensler told The New York Times that his current plans are to be a stay-at-home father for his youngest daughter. Gensler's wife died of breast cancer in 2006.

"I assume my professional life will sort itself out," he told the newspaper.

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