William Webster is stepping down as chairman of the newly created accounting industry oversight board, after publicly mulling the move for more than a week.
Webster, a former director of the FBI and the CIA, submitted his resignation to White House on Tuesday afternoon. The 78-year-old Webster's resignation likely will close the door on the furor over his appointment to the new board, which is the centerpiece of the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform measure.
It was controversy over Webster's appointment that led to the Election Night resignation of
Chairman Harvey Pitt, after 15 tumultuous months in office. Last week, Pitt's right-hand man at SEC, Robert Herdman, the agency's chief accountant, also resigned.
Herdman helped Pitt in vetting Webster and the other nominees for the accounting board.
Pitt was forced to resign from the SEC after it was revealed that Webster, a former federal judge, had sat on the audit board of
, a company that could face a potential fraud investigation. Webster told Pitt about the issue, but Pitt never told his fellow commissioners before the vote on Webster's nomination.
Webster's resignation now completes the circle, but it leaves the accounting board in a state of flux. The board was supposed to meet this week to begin setting up an agenda.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration is moving slowly in naming a successor to Pitt, who still remains on the job. There is speculation the White House may name one of the current commissioners as an acting chairman, if they can't soon decide upon a new nominee.