Linda Chatman Thomsen will step down from her position as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission's enforcement division to return to the private sector, the SEC announced yesterday.

The SEC did not say precisely when she would leave, but her departure had been expected after widespread complaints that the agency had failed to uncover money manager Bernie Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi scheme in spite of concerns raised by a whistleblower. Thomsen will remain on staff "for a period of time to ensue a smooth transition," said SEC spokesman John Nester.

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