A top FINRA executive is leaving the self-regulator to pursue interests in the private sector, the authority announced this week.

Susan Axelrod has served as the executive vice president for regulatory operations since 2013 after beginning her career at the organization’s predecessor, NYSE Regulation 28 years ago.

As regulations chief, Axelrod oversaw the member regulation program, the office of fraud detection and market intelligence, enforcement and shared services. In all, she led a national team of more than 1,400 people in 14 offices.

FINRA said it would “immediately begin” searching for a successor. Axelrod is expected to remain in her current position until January 5 to help with the transition, and she will also continue on as a senior advisor to FINRA CEO Robert Cook until the end of April.

“From protecting seniors to addressing the rise of cybersecurity risk, Susan has been in the vanguard meeting the many challenges that have confronted investors and the markets in recent years,” Cook said in a statement.

Axelrod oversaw the creation of the Securities Helpline for Seniors, which to date has fielded more than 11,000 calls and helped investors recover $4.7 million, says the regulator. She also helped establish an anti-money laundering unit to investigate highly complex financial crimes, and oversaw the launch of the authority’s annual Women’s Leadership Forum.

“It has been an honor and privilege to work every day to ensure that investors are protected and markets are operating with integrity,” Axelrod said in a statement. “I want to express my deepest gratitude to everyone I have worked with over the years, including staff, board members and industry participants.”

Prior to joining FINRA in 2007, Axelrod was staff chief to the CEO of NYSE Regulation.

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