Business & Finance

Under pressure, controversial Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Harvey Pitt resigned from the agency after 15 months on the job, and speculation immediately centered on who would succeed him. In a letter to President Bush, Pitt cited "the turmoil surrounding my chairmanship" and said he was making the move now to allow the SEC "to continue the important efforts we have started." Among those considered candidates to replace Pitt are SEC commissioner Paul Atkins and former chief Richard Breeden, ex-Nasdaq chairman Frank Zarb, former federal judge Stanley Sporkin, ex-New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and James Doty, a Bush family attorney. But Breeden reportedly has turned down an informal approach offering the post, and Giuliani said late Tuesday on CNN's "Larry King Live" that he is not interested in a federal job "right now."

United Airlines said a key creditor has agreed – in principle – to accept late payment of a $500 million debt repayment that if tendered now could have pushed the carrier into bankruptcy. The sum was payable in two amounts due Nov. 17 and next month to a German bank, Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau. Barring a last-minute hitch, the rescheduled debt now will come due in 2007, giving United additional time to negotiate similar arrangements with other creditors and pay cuts with its employees.

Troubled Swiss Life announced its third chief this year after ousting chairman Roland Chlapowski over his role in a private investment fund that yielded him and other senior executives millions of dollars in profits. He will be replaced by a former senior manager of the giant Credit Suisse Group, Rolf Doerig, who is to assume his new duties in January. Chlapowski had held the post since March after his predecessor also was fired because of an ambition expansion program that led to the first operating loss in the company's history.

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