FDIC chair to quit as 5-year term finishes

City A.M. Reporter
SHEILA Bair, one of the most visible regulators who navigated the recent financial crisis, will leave the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) on 8 July, the agency announced yesterday.

Bair began her five-year term as chairman in June 2006 and was known for her tough talk against Wall Street excess. Throughout the 2007-2009 financial crisis that rocked the banking industry, she butted heads with other regulators by at times taking a firmer stance on taxpayer-backed bailouts.

Yesterday, Bair did not announce what she will do next. She previously said she plans to go back to academia or work at a nonprofit, but not enter the lobbying world or Wall Street.

Prior to joining the FDIC, Bair was a professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She has held a variety of jobs in government, including being a top aide to former Senate Republican leader Robert Dole.

The Obama administration has yet to announce who the president will nominate to replace Bair, but a leading candidate is FDIC vice chairman Martin Gruenberg, according to industry and congressional sources.

Gruenberg has been at the FDIC since 2005 and before that was a longtime Democratic aide in Congress, where he focused on banking issues.

Bair has been an outspoken advocate of strongly implementing the Dodd-Frank financial oversight law, which was enacted in July. Under the new law the government can designate non-bank financial firms as being systemically important financial institutions because their failure could roil markets and damage the economy.