Sean McKessy, chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s whistleblower office, plans to set down this month.

McKessy was the original leader of the SEC Office of the Whistleblower when it was set up in February 2011. Deputy chief Jane Norberg will serve as acting chief after he departs.

The office reviews whistleblower tips and provides recommendations to the SEC on whether tipsters qualify to receive whistleblower awards for reporting financial chicanery such as accounting fraud, along with how much they should receive.

Since it was first established by McKessy, the whistleblower office has reviewed over 14,000 whistleblower tips and awarded more than $85 million to 32 whistleblowers. Successful enforcement actions based on whistleblower tips led to more than $504 million in sanctions, including more than $346 million in disgorgement and interest for harmed investors. Over $453 million of that total has been collected.

“The SEC’s whistleblower program has had a transformative impact on the agency, and Sean’s service as the first head of the Whistleblower Office has contributed greatly to the program’s success,” said SEC Enforcement Division director Andrew J. Ceresney in a statement. “Sean has been a staunch advocate for whistleblowers, a relentless promoter of the program, and an invaluable advisor on these issues.”

McKessy worked at the SEC Enforcement Division from 1997 to 2000 as a senior counsel. He also worked in the private sector as corporate secretary at both Altria and AOL and securities counsel at Caterpillar.

“It has been an honor and pleasure to serve as the first Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower,” McKessy said in a statement. “Working with the extraordinarily talented and dedicated staff of the Whistleblower Office and the Enforcement Division in standing up a groundbreaking and exemplary Whistleblower Office has been the highlight of my professional career.”

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