Arthur Levitt, Jr. (born 1931) was the twenty-fifth and longest-serving Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from 1993 to 2001. Widely hailed as a champion of the individual investor, he has been criticized for not pushing for tougher accounting rules. Since May 2001 he has been employed as a senior adviser at the Carlyle Group. Levitt also serves as a policy advisor to Goldman Sachs and as a Director of Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News.
Growing up in a Jewish family in Brooklyn, Levitt received his first exposure to the world of finance through his father, Arthur Levitt, Sr., who served as New York State Comptroller for 24 years and was sole trustee of the largest pension fund in America at the time. Levitt graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College in 1952, before serving for two years in the Air Force. He first worked as a drama critic for The Berkshire Eagle, and after the Air Force, he was with Time-Life for five years. He then sold cattle and ranches as tax shelters before joining a new brokerage firm, Carter, Berlind & Weill, which eventually evolved into Shearson Loeb Rhoades. This experience with retail customers was a source of his interest in the small investor. After sixteen years on Wall Street, Levitt became the Chairman of the American Stock Exchange (AMEX) in 1978. In 1989, he left the AMEX to serve as Chairman of the New York City Economic Development Corporation until 1993. Before joining the SEC, Levitt owned Roll Call, a newspaper that covers Capitol Hill.