Donald Nicolaisen, the chief accountant at the Securities and Exchange Commission, will leave the regulator at the end of October to pursue an opportunity in the private sector.

Nicolaisen's departure, which is the latest in a string of high-level exits from the SEC, will leave newly minted Chairman Christopher Cox with another key position to fill. Former SEC Chairman William Donaldson appointed Nicolaisen in August 2003. He was formerly a senior partner at the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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