The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on December 16 unanimously elected Commissioner Mark Wetjen to serve as Acting Chairman when current Chairman Gary Gensler departs, which could be as soon as January 3, 2014.  President Obama has nominated Timothy Massad, Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability at the Treasury Department, to succeed Chairman Gensler.

Commissioner Wetjen will oversee the Commission during a period of transition.  As Acting Chairman, Commissioner Wetjen will inherit several pending proposals from Chairman Gensler, including position limits, which are significant for the energy industry (a summary is available here), as well as the initial oversight of the trading mandate for interest rate swaps, which is expected to commence early in 2014.

In addition to Chairman Gensler, Commissioner Bart Chilton is expected to leave the Commission in the near term.  The seat held by former Commissioner Jill Sommers also remains open.  President Obama has nominated Christopher Giancarlo, Executive Vice President at GFI Group, to succeed Commissioner Sommers, and has yet to nominate someone to succeed Commissioner Chilton.  The term of Commissioner Scott O’Malia, the remaining Republican Commissioner, does not expire until April 2015.

Commissioner Wetjen was appointed by President Obama and sworn in as a Commissioner in October 2011.  Prior to joining the CFTC, Commissioner Wetjen served in the Senate as a senior advisor on financial services matters for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.