The head of the Financial Conduct Authority is to stand down, Chancellor George Osborne has announced.
Mr Osborne said Martin Wheatley had done a brilliant job as chief executive in launching the FCA, but that the regulator was now in need of “different leadership”.
Executive board member Tracey McDermott will take on the role of acting chief executive while the Government launches a “worldwide search” for a permanent replacement.
“Britain needs a tough, strong financial conduct regulator. Martin Wheatley has done a brilliant job of launching the FCA in tough circumstances,” Mr Osborne said.
“Now that phase is complete, the Government believes that different leadership is required to build on those foundations and take the organisation to the next stage of its development.
“The Government is launching a worldwide search. Martin’s replacement will - like him - need to be passionate about protecting consumers, promoting competition and completing the job of cleaning up the City, so it is the best-regulated market in the world.”
Mr Wheatley said in a statement: “I am incredibly proud of all we have achieved together in building the FCA over the last four years.
“I know that the organisation will build on that strong start and work so that the financial services industry continues to thrive.”
Mr Wheatley launched the FCA in 2011 with a pledge to clean up the City, but he came under fire himself last year after the leak of an impending FCA investigation wiped billions off the value of insurance companies.
He was one of four executives to be stripped of his entire bonus and earned a dressing down from Chancellor George Osborne, who said the incident had damaged the UK’s reputation for regulatory stability and competence.