Heath P. Tarbert will step down as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission early next year.
"Leading the men and women of the CFTC these last 17 months has been an extraordinary privilege but, like all good things, it must come to an end," he said in a statement Thursday.
Mr. Tarbert, who previously served as acting undersecretary for international affairs at the Treasury Department, started his five-year term as chairman in July 2019, but is stepping down as Democrats prepare to take over White House. He did not indicate what he plans to do after leaving the CFTC.
During his tenure, the commission advanced 40 final rules and 21 proposals — nearly 90% of them on a bipartisan basis, according Mr. Tarbert's statement. "The partisan divisions in Washington may run deep, but the commission's historically collegial atmosphere has continued uninterrupted," he said.
Mr. Tarbert added that the COVID-19 pandemic is testing the "strength of our markets and our ability to adapt. Amid historic volatility, the CFTC has provided a steady hand and watchful eye while our markets act as shock absorbers. There is no doubt in my mind this has been the CFTC's 'finest hour' during our celebrated 45-year history."
The CFTC consists of five commissioners appointed by the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve staggered five-year terms. No more than three commissioners at any one time can be from the same political party. The president — with Senate consent — also designates one of the commissioners to serve as chair.
The commission currently has two Democrats — Rostin Behnam and Dan M. Berkovitz — with President-elect Joe Biden set to take office Jan. 20.