The Wall Street regulator who oversaw and closed some of the most prominent investigations into the financial crisis disclosed his departure from the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, a move that could portend a subtle shift in the agency’s enforcement agenda.
George Canellos, who was cochief of enforcement at the SEC, will leave after a tenure that spanned one of the most significant periods in the agency’s 80-year history. Canellos joined in the wake of the 2008 crisis, after the agency’s failure to detect Bernard L. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme made it a symbol of regulatory incompetence.
Nearly five years later, as the agency has regained its footing, Canellos leaves behind a productive yet complicated legacy.
He presided over an onslaught of insider trading cases, a crackdown that ensnared some of Wall Street’s most vaunted hedge funds, including SAC Capital Advisors and Galleon Group. Canellos is expected to join a private law firm.