Lori Richards is stepping down as head of the office of compliance inspections and examinations at the Securities and Exchange Commission, a role she held since its creation in 1995. She joined the SEC in 1985. Upon her departure on Aug. 7, Associate Director and Chief Counsel John Walsh will take her place.

In February, lawmakers criticized Richards and other SEC officials for missing various signs of the $60 billion fraud being perpetrated by Bernard Madoff Investment Securities.

SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro, who has been making widespread personnel changes at the Commission, issued a statement complementing Richards “for her passionate and tireless service.”

The SEC credited Richards for “spearheading numerous examination initiatives, including targeted examination sweeps focused on emerging compliance risks, as well as routine, cause and other examination reviews,” along with the CCOutreach program, training for SEC examiners, improve use of technology, review of credit rating agencies and detecting conflicts of interest at pension plans.

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