Canellos Named Acting SEC Enforcement Chief as Khuzami Departs

George Canellos, deputy director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division, has been named acting head of the unit that polices Wall Street, the agency said today.

Canellos, 48, will serve on an interim basis in the job that will be left vacant by Robert Khuzami, who is leaving the SEC after four years as enforcement chief. Canellos begins the role on Feb. 8, the SEC said in a statement.

He became Khuzami’s deputy in April after three years overseeing the SEC’s regional office in New York, where he was responsible for about 400 staff, including investigators, accountants and examiners.

“George’s proven intellectual abilities and creative approach to problem-solving have made him an extremely effective advocate for investors and make him ideally suited to serve as acting director,” SEC Chairman Elisse B. Walter said in a statement.

Canellos, who holds degrees from Harvard College and Columbia Law School, became a U.S. prosecutor in the Southern District of New York in 1994, where he worked for Mary Jo White, the former U.S. attorney who was nominated Jan. 24 to become the next SEC Chairman.

After eight years as a prosecutor, Canellos joined law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, where he was a partner until 2009 when he left for the SEC.

“It is an honor and inspiration to serve with such talented and dedicated colleagues throughout the SEC,” Canellos said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to work with them as we emerge from a historic restructuring and confront new challenges.”

David P. Bergers, director of the SEC’s Boston regional office, was named acting deputy director of enforcement. Bergers, 45, has directed the Boston office since 2006.

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