WASHINGTON — Scott DeFife is leaving the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association as its senior managing director of government affairs early next year to take on a similar post at the National Restaurant Association, the two trade groups announced yesterday.

DeFife will become executive vice president of policy and government affairs at the restaurant trade grouup, spearheading its federal and state legislative and lobbying efforts, beginning Jan. 11.

SIFMA president and chief executive officer Timothy Ryan said DeFife's departure "is a loss for SIFMA and its members" but "an exciting career opportunity for him."

"Scott has been an effective advocate and leader for SIFMA and its government affairs efforts and he has represented our members' interests extremely well during difficult times for the industry," Ryan said.

DeFife, recognized as one of the "best lobbyists in the business for America's business trade associations" by the publication the Hill, led a 15-member government affairs team at SIFMA during an unprecedented time.

He joined the association in May 2007 just before the financial crisis hit and led to a spate of federal recovery actions and programs, a restructuring of the financial services industry, and numerous regulatory and legislative reform proposals. He is leaving in the middle of the congressional debate over legislative reforms, but after former lawmaker and muni bond dealer Ken Bentsen became head of SIFMA's office here.

DeFife previously was senior policy adviser to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer D-Md., and held senior posts in the offices of Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., and former Reps. Karen McCarthy, D-Mo., and Michael Andrews, D-Tex. He also represented the American Public Power Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

He received a bachelor of science degree in communications from the University of Texas in Austin and a master of public affairs degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

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