Martin Wheatley
Martin Wheatley has been chief executive of the conduct authority since it was foundedGetty

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced the resignation of its chief executive office (CEO) Martin Wheatley, who will leave the regulator on 12 September.

Wheatley, the former FTSE International chairman who has been CEO of the FCA since 2011, will stay involved with the regulator's board until January 2016.

"I am incredibly proud of all we have achieved together in building the FCA over the last four years," he commented. "I know that the organisation will build on that strong start and work so that the financial services industry continues to thrive."

Wheatley's resignation kicks off the FCA's hunt for a new chief executive. After 12 September, current director for investment, wholesale and specialist supervision Tracey McDermott will take up a position as acting CEO.

"I am pleased that we are able to call on someone of Tracey's ability and stature to take up the post of acting chief executive," chairman John Griffith-Jones said. "I am grateful to her for taking on this role and I know she will do a great job."

"Martin has done an outstanding job ... setting up and leading the FCA over the last four years. We owe him a lot and [we] would like to thank him for his great efforts, for the contribution he has made to putting conduct so firmly at the top of the financial services agenda," Griffith-Jones said.

The executive's leave before the end of his contract is thought to symbolise the government's plans to take a more passive stance on banking regulation.

Wheatley is known for his expressed 'shoot first, ask later' strategies and his aggressive clampdown on financial misconduct. Chancellor George Osborne said that the FCA now needs a new kind of leader that would fit the new position of the regulator.

"Martin Wheatley has done a brilliant job of launching the FCA in tough circumstances," 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 FCA, which has played a key role in regulating and monitoring the UK's financial industry over recent years, focuses on fining those companies partaking in misconduct such as the Forex and Libor-rigging scandals.

Although the FCA cancelled bonuses after an investigation leak in 2014, a £92,000 (€131,990, $143,720) bonus was included in Wheatley's £701,000 pay check in 2015.

The amount might seem paltry compared to City bonuses, but Wheatley was by far the highest-paid executive working for the independent regulator.