Mary Schapiro, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, announced she will step down Dec. 14 following a strenuous four years as SEC chief.
Schapiro was appointed head of the SEC by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2008, just one month after the Bernie Madoff scandal emerged, and she officially took office in 2009 at the peak of the financial crisis.
Her departure was not a surprise, as over the past year she had told fellow staff members how exhausted she was and that she hoped to leave after the elections.
Schapiro was the first woman to be permanent chairman of the SEC, and her four years were arguably the toughest stretch any SEC chief has faced.
"When Mary agreed to serve nearly four years ago, she was fully aware of the difficulties facing the SEC and our economy as a whole," President Obama said in a statement. "But she accepted the challenge, and today, the SEC is stronger and our financial system is safer and better able to serve the American people - thanks in large part to Mary's hard work."