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New Enforcement Chief for SEC

Linda Thomsen is the first woman to hold the job; her current duties include overseeing the Enron investigation.
Stephen TaubMay 13, 2005

The Securities and Exchange Commission has named Linda Chatman Thomsen as the new director of the Division of Enforcement. She succeeds Stephen Cutler, who announced last month that he would leave the commission after six years.

Thomsen, who joined the SEC as assistant chief litigation counsel in 1995 and attained several promotions before becoming the Enforcement Division’s deputy director in 2002, was widely expected to get the nod. She is the first woman to serve as director of the division.

Among her current duties is oversight of the commission’s Enron investigation. “It was a complicated fraud, and we were trying to untangle it in a hurry,” said former SEC attorney William Kimball, now a partner at Morgan Lewis, according to The Wall Street Journal. “We’d have 40 people in the room, and Linda was very good at getting us to focus.”

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Thomsen also recommended that the SEC sue former Drexel Burnham Lambert junk-bond king Michael Milken — who in 1991 was banned for life from the securities business after pleading guilty to fraud — when he advised MCI Communications after his release from prison, the newspaper added.

“Linda is a highly accomplished attorney with a proven record of effective advocacy on behalf of the nation’s investors,” said SEC Chairman William Donaldson, in a statement announcing the appointment.

Before joining the commission, Thomsen worked at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell in Washington, D.C. and New York, and also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland. She received her undergraduate degree from Smith College and her law degree from Harvard University.