Arthur Levitt, Jr.

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Arthur Levitt
Occupation Senior Advisor
Employer The Carlyle Group

Arthur Levitt was the 25th chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He was first appointed by President Bill Clinton in July 1993, and then reappointed to a second five-year term in May 1998. On Sept. 9, 1999, he became the longest serving chairman of the Commission. He left the Commission on Feb. 9, 2001.

He is currently a senior advisor to The Carlyle Group, which he joined in May 2001. He advises Carlyle management on strategic business matters.


Levitt is the son of Arthur Levitt Sr., a former comptroller for the state of New York.

Early in his tenure at the SEC, Levitt created the Office of Investor Education and Assistance and established the Web site at, which gives the public free access to corporate filings.

Levitt's accomplishments as SEC chair include: improving the quality of financial reporting, maintaining the independence of auditors, saving investors billions of dollars by reducing spreads in the Nasdaq market, promoting the use of plain English in financial documents, requiring that important information be released to all investors simultaneously, fighting Internet fraud, and cleaning up the municipal bond market.[1]

Before joining the SEC, Levitt owned Roll Call, a newspaper covering Capitol Hill. From 1989 to 1993, he served as the chairman of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and from 1978 to 1989 he was the chairman of the American Stock Exchange. Before joining the Amex, Levitt worked for 16 years on Wall Street.

Over the years, Levitt has given money to both Republicans and Democrats; he was considered by the Bush White House for the SEC chairmanship, but was passed over for Richard C. Breeden, who had solid Republican credentials.[2]

In December of 2008, Levitt fired back at critics trying to lay at his feet some of the blame for the Bernie Madoff scandal, saying that he didn't see any evidence that the SEC dropped the ball. He also denied allegations that he had a close relationship with Madoff.[3]


Levitt graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College in 1952 before serving for two years in the Air Force.


Don't Set Speed Limits on Trading, by Arthur Levitt (The Wall Street Journal)