June 22 (UPI) -- A U.S. Navy leader under investigation by the branch's inspector general over claims of misconduct has announced he will retire.
Master Chief Petty Officer Steven Giordano is accused of creating a toxic work environment for subordinates by belittling staff and demanding they perform menial tasks. An investigation into the case began last month.
A statement posted to Facebook by Giordano late Thursday said he's stepping aside to end the distraction and allow the Navy to move forward.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said Giordano's retired "effective immediately."
"I appreciate his recognition that the situation had become untenable," Richardson said. "Now we need to move forward -- together -- as a Navy striving with all our energy to become a more lethal fighting force."
Giordano, the 14th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, had been senior enlisted adviser to Richardson since September 2016.
The Chief Petty Officer of the Navy is the most senior enlisted member of the branch, similar to the Sergeant Major of the Army, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.