Roel C. Campos, a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission, announced Thursday that he will leave the agency next month, about three years before his second term expires.
Campos, 58, a Texan who is the son of Mexican immigrants, was the first Hispanic to serve as a commissioner of the 74-year-old market watchdog agency. One of two Democrats on the five-member commission, he was first appointed by President Bush in July 2002, at the height of the corporate scandals crisis.
Campos, a lawyer, said he plans to return to the private sector. Before coming to the SEC, he was operator and general counsel of El Dorado Communications, a broadcasting and communications company in Houston. Before starting the company, he practiced law and was an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles.
Campos, who served as the SEC's liaison to international regulatory agencies, was widely considered the most liberal of the five current SEC commissioners. In a statement, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said Campos "has worked tirelessly, both at home and abroad, for the protection of investors and the betterment of U.S. markets."
Names surfacing as leading candidates to replace Campos, to be put forward by Senate Democrats, include Luis Aguilar, the former general counsel of investment management firm Invesco.
Paul Atkins, a Republican commissioner, has been under consideration by the White House to head another regulatory agency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.