Wall Street regulator nominated to lead FDIC, would replace current chair embroiled in sexual harassment uproar

The next leader for the federal bank deposit insurance agency would be a Wall Street regulator and former Treasury Department official if the Senate confirms the nomination announced Thursday by the White House.

Christy Goldsmith Romero was named by President Joe Biden (D) to be a member and chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Board. If confirmed by the Senate, she would replace current board Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg, who announced last month he would resign once his successor is confirmed.

Gruenberg has served as either a member, vice chairman or chairman of the agency for 19 years. He has faced criticism for for his lack of temper control in a report issued in May related to claims of sexual harassment. Gruenberg was not linked to harassment in the report; however, the report pointed to the chairman’s hot temper as a contributing factor to reports of harassment not being adequately addressed by the agency.

According to the White House, Goldsmith-Romero has served as a commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) since March 2022. In that role, the White House said, she oversees CFTC-registered banks, brokers, exchanges, clearinghouses, funds, and commodity producers.

Prior to that, Romero’s government service was a dozen years at the Treasury Department, including (for a decade) as special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the program set up in the wake of the financial crisis that started in 2008. In that role, the White House said, “she led a nationwide, independent law enforcement and audit watchdog office that conducted oversight” over TARP, “in which the federal government became a shareholder in more than 700 banks, among other programs.”

She was an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and University of Virginia Law School from 2019 to 2021, teaching courses in securities regulation, cryptocurrency regulation, and federal oversight. She also served for six years at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Also nominated Thursday was Kristin N. Johnson to be assistant secretary for financial institutions at the Treasury Department. That position serves as the Treasury’s principal liaison to the federal financial institution regulators. She is also now a commissioner of the CFTC.

President Biden Announces Key Nominees