Mr Breeden, a banking lawyer who has made many enemies during his five years as the principal market regulator, is expected to return to private practice.
Two possible successors have been mentioned, both strong supporters of shareholder rights likely to encourage more corporate activism.
James Cheek, a leading member of the American Bar Association's securities practice, is said to be the choice of Vice President Albert Gore. Democratic leaders in Congress are believed to favour Consuela Washington, senior counsel to the House of Representatives' Commerce Committee. Ms Washington was a vocal critic of the 1980s takeover boom.Reuse content