Mary Schapiro, chairwoman of the Wall Street regulator, is stepping down Dec. 14. She will be replaced by Elisse Walter, who is already serving as an SEC commissioner, which means she will not require approval by Congress to take the job.
Schapiro has long complained to staff her job has been exhausting and she would leave after national election, The New York Times reported.
She has been at the SEC for four years, stepping in just as the financial crisis exploded into headline news, given the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September of 2008 and the arrest of Bernard Madoff in December of the same year.
Both were embarrassments to the regulatory agency that is supposed to regulate the financial system. Schapiro, who previously ran the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, took over the SEC in January 2009.
The agency, during her tenure, has tackled a record number of legal cases, but it has also drawn criticism for going after companies while allowing executives at those companies to escape prosecution.
"Over the past four years we have brought a record number of enforcement actions, engaged in one of the busiest rule-making periods and gained greater authority from Congress to better fulfill our mission," she said in a statement.
"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. 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," President Barack Obama said in a statement.