The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday announced the appointment of George Canellos as director of its New York regional office, where he will oversee enforcement and examination operations.

Canellos, who will join the SEC in July after he leaves the law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, is a former criminal prosecutor with the U.S attorney's office in Manhattan, where he served as chief of the major crimes unit and supervised teams of prosecutors responsible for investigating and prosecuting large-scale financial crimes, the commission said.

"George Canellos exemplified precisely the kind of high-caliber professional we are trying to recruit to join our talented New York office," SEC chairman Mary Schapiro said in a statement.

Canellos will succeed James Clarkson, who has served as the acting regional director on an interim basis since October and will now return to his post as director of regional office operations in the SEC's enforcement division in Washington.

Canellos, 44, began his legal career in 1989 as a litigation associate at Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz in New York. He earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard College in 1986 and his law degree from Columbia University in 1989.

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