Obama is set to announce the nomination at the White House Thursday afternoon. As part of the event, the White House will also renominate Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a role he has held for the last year under a recess appointment.
In its choice of White and Cordray, the White House is sending a signal about the importance of holding Wall Street accountable for wrongdoing. Both picks are former prosecutors.
Regulatory chiefs are often market experts or academics. But White spent nearly a decade as United States attorney in New York, the first woman named to this post. Among her prominent cases, she oversaw the prosecution of the mafia boss John Gotti as well as the people responsible for the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing. She is now working the other side, defending Wall Street firms and executives as a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton.