Tracey McDermott, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) veteran and acting CEO, has withdrawn from the race for the top job at the UK's independent regulator. She took over as interim chief after Martin Wheatley's notice period ended in September 2015, following his resignation in July.
Having worked for the watchdog for 15 years, McDermott was thought to be one of the favourites to take the permanent role following Wheatley's exit. In a statement, the regulation veteran said she remained "extremely committed to, and passionate about, the important work" done by the FCA.
She added: "It has been, and remains, a privilege to lead this organisation. However, going through the recruitment process has made me reflect on what I want to do with the rest of my career. As a result I have decided that this is not the right job for me at this stage of my career. This was a decision taken after many months of careful thought and was not one that I took lightly."
Wheatley's resignation came at a time when the Conservative government had expressed its desire to change the way financial regulators work. He was known for his "ask first, shoot later" technique and Chancellor George Osborne had expressed that the FCA would need a new type of boss who would fit the new position of the watchdog.
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 package in 2015.
"Tracey's stewardship of the FCA as acting chief executive has served to build on an impressive reputation created during her time leading various divisions across the FCA," the regulator's chairman John Griffith-Jones said. "Over the last few months, I have enjoyed working closely with Tracey and have appreciated both her advice and leadership of the organisation.
Griffith-Jones expressed his understanding of McDermott's decision to withdraw from the recruitment process. The chairman is now facing a tougher process with possible candidates from outside the FCA as well.