Robert S. Khuzami, who led the enforcement division of the Securities and Exchange Commission for four years during the Obama administration, was named on Friday as the deputy United States attorney in Manhattan.
Mr. Khuzami’s selection was announced by Geoffrey S. Berman, who was appointed this week as the interim United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and who is expected to be nominated to the post by President Trump.
Mr. Berman said in a statement that Mr. Khuzami had been an “outstanding” assistant United States attorney in an earlier tenure in the office, “and he has since distinguished himself in further public service and in the private sector.”
The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan has traditionally been one of the most aggressive pursuers of cases involving white-collar and Wall Street crime, and Mr. Khuzami’s background means he could become one of the country’s top financial watchdogs.
Mr. Khuzami, 61, a Brooklyn native, has been a partner in the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, based in its Washington office, since leaving the S.E.C. in 2013.
While a prosecutor in the Southern District from 1990 to 2002, Mr. Khuzami met and worked with Mr. Berman, who also began in that office in 1990. The two men have remained close friends, Mr. Khuzami has said.
In 1995, when Mary Jo White was the United States attorney, Mr. Khuzami was a member of the team that won the convictions of an Egyptian sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman, and a group of other men who had plotted to blow up the United Nations, the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, and other city landmarks.
He also served for three years as the head of the Southern District’s security and commodities fraud task force.
From 2002 to 2009, he worked at Deutsche Bank, eventually becoming general counsel for its American businesses.
Mr. Khuzami spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention, in defense of the Patriot Act and in support of President George W. Bush’s re-election.
Mr. Khuzami took the S.E.C. post in 2009 in the aftermath of revelations about Bernard L. Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme, when the agency was under fire for failing to uncover the decades-long fraud and for missing warning signs of the financial meltdown.
Mr. Khuzami ultimately led a sweeping overhaul of the agency’s enforcement unit. “We intend to learn every lesson we can,” he told the Senate Banking Committee in September 2009. “There are no sacred cows.”
Mr. Khuzami was credited with reinvigorating the S.E.C.’s enforcement division. But during his tenure, the agency also faced criticism from consumer advocates and other groups that it didn’t do more to punish top Wall Street executives or banks after the financial crisis.
Mr. Berman took over the Southern District post from Joon H. Kim, who became the acting United States attorney in March after the longtime top prosecutor, Preet Bharara, was fired by the Trump administration.
Mr. Berman also announced on Friday that Joan Loughnane, who had served as the deputy to Mr. Kim for the past 10 months, would resume her role as chief counsel when Mr. Khuzami arrived.