WASHINGTON — Former New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg is stepping down from his role as chief executive of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association after just seven months on the job, the Wall Street trade group said Thursday.

Gregg, a Republican who chaired the Senate Budget Committee from 2005 to 2007, will be succeeded by Kenneth Bentsen, a former Congressman who already serves as SIFMA's president.

Gregg said in a press release that his decision to step down was prompted by "my personal need to spend less time commuting to Washington from New Hampshire and slowing a hectic schedule." He will continue working with the group as a senior advisor.

Gregg was part of a mini-wave of politicians that ended up running financial services trade groups, including Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor and Republican presidential candidate who now heads the Financial Services Roundtable, and Frank Keating, a former governor of Oklahoma who runs the American Bankers Association.

Bentsen is also a former lawmaker, having served as a Democratic representative from Texas from 1995 to 2003. During that time, Bentsen sat on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Budget Committee. His resume also includes stints as president of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association and as an investment banker with George K. Baum & Company. Bentsen will continue to serve as president but adds the title of CEO in the wake of Gregg's departure.

Bentsen's "extensive knowledge of our industry will be critical as we communicate with regulators, Congress and the broader public in the coming years," said Jim Rosenthal, chairman of SIFMA and chief operating officer of Morgan Stanley, in the release.

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