Securities chief named for Maryland

September 22, 1992|By David Conn | David Conn,Staff Writer

Maryland's attorney general yesterday appointed Robert N. McDonald, the head of the antitrust division, to take over the state securities division, which has been weakened by budget cuts and staff reductions in the past year.

Taking Mr. McDonald's place is Ellen S. Cooper, 44, deputy chief of the antitrust division since 1989, said Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., who made the announcement in an internal memo yesterday.

Former Commissioner Ellyn L. Brown stepped down Friday, a move she announced in June, after nearly five years in office. Ms. Brown said she wanted to finish a project for the North American Securities Administrators Association before deciding on a new job.

Mr. McDonald, 40, is a 1977 graduate of Harvard Law School and a graduate of Harvard College. He has headed the attorney general's antitrust division since August 1990 and served as principal counsel to the Maryland Department of Transportation before that. He was an assistant U.S. attorney for seven years during the 1980s.

"He's just an extremely bright young man, with a keen insight into issues and problems," Mr. Curran said in an interview. Mr. McDonald "has a charge of not only helping to run the division, but also to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the division in light of recent downsizing."

The division, which licenses and regulates companies and individuals that buy and sell securities in Maryland, had as many as 25 professionals at one point, Mr. Curran estimated. Because of budget cuts in the past year or so, that number has dropped by about one-third, he said.

"I thought I'd send someone in there who is not currently a part of the division," he said. Mr. McDonald has been asked to make recommendations within two or three months about how to change the operation of the office, "including possibly a new commissioner."

"I'm not saying that Bob is not going to be permanent," Mr. Curran added. "He may well be. But Bob's a bright enough guy that if one of the recommendations is that someone more steeped in securities regulation" should be commissioner, then Mr. McDonald would follow that proposal, Mr. Curran said.

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