David Walker, comptroller general of the United States and head of the Government Accountability Office, plans to resign to take over as president and CEO of the newly established Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

Walker has been comptroller general since November 1998. In that time, he has expanded the GAO's role and visibility and worked to modernize the accountability profession. During his tenure, the GAO changed its name from the Government Accounting Office to the Government Accountability Office.

Walker plans to leave his post on March 12. His new position at the Peterson Foundation will put him in charge of funds from the soon-to-be retiring senior chairman of the Blackstone Group. Peterson, a former Commerce Secretary, plans to devote an initial amount of $100 million to the foundation, but will increase it to $1 billion over the next few years.

The foundation will address issues such as the growth of federal entitlement programs, healthcare costs, trade and budget deficits, savings rates, foreign debt, energy consumption, the educational system and the proliferation of nuclear warfare materials.

"As comptroller general of the United States and head of the GAO, there are real limitations on what I can do and say in connection with key public policy issues, especially issues that directly relate to GAO's client - the Congress," said Walker in a statement. "My new position will provide me with the ability and resources to more aggressively address a range of current and emerging challenges facing our country, including advocating specific policy solutions and courses of action."

Gene Dodaro, the GAO's chief operating officer, will serve as acting comptroller general until a permanent replacement is appointed.

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