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Ex-Congressman Bartlett Retiring From Wall Street Trade Group

Steve Bartlett, head of one of the biggest trade associations for financial companies in Washington, is retiring at the end of the year.

Bartlett, chief executive officer of the Financial Services Roundtable, announced his plans in an e-mail sent to the group’s members today. The former Republican congressman from Texas joined the association in 1999.

“Quite simply, it’s time,” Bartlett wrote in his note. “After 12 and a half years at the helm, it’s time for a new captain.”

The roundtable, which lobbies on behalf of 97 large banks, insurers and other financial companies, has hired executive search firm Korn/Ferry International (KFY) to find a new CEO, Bartlett said.

According to two people familiar with the search, the association is looking to hire a former lawmaker or high-level regulatory official to replace Bartlett. Potential candidates the group wants to interview include former Representative Michael Oxley, an Ohio Republican, and Jill Sommers, a Republican commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the people said on condition that they not be named because the process is confidential.

Sommers declined to comment; Oxley did not immediately respond to a telephone message seeking a response.

In his note, Bartlett said he thinks the public image of Wall Street has improved after taking a beating in the wake of the 2008 market collapse.

“The industry is poised to regain our reputation,” he wrote. “That’s not accomplished yet, but the foundation is solid and a fresh face can advance that cause.”

According to the roundtable’s tax records, Bartlett earned total compensation of $1.8 million in 2010.

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