After watching corporate behemoths like Enron and WorldCom implode because of corrupt accounting, gutting thousands of people's 401(k) savings, few investors felt secure. That started to change when President Bush appointed William Donaldson head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2003.
"At this stage in my life, I felt I could be truly independent," says Donaldson of his decision, at age 71, to accept the job. "I can take on the complex problems and I have the freedom to try to do what's right." The ex-Marine and former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange didn't waste a minute in making bold, controversial moves, adding almost 1,000 new employees to the SEC payroll and adopting nine new initiatives to tighten oversight of mutual funds.
"Chairman Donaldson is a forceful advocate for the interests of investors," says Paul Schott Stevens, president of the Investment Company Institute, the trade association for the mutual fund industry. It's reassuring to know there's an ex-Marine fighting to protect our retirement cash.
*The name of this award was originally the Impact Award. In 2008, the awards were renamed as the Inspire Awards.