THE Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has lost its chief executive just days before a new director takes the reins.
Phillippa Williamson, who was second in command to outgoing director Richard Alderman, has stepped down suddenly and given no reason for the departure.
It comes as new director David Green takes up his role next week.
Williamson has been in charge of day-to-day finances and operations at the SFO since taking the newly-created role of chief executive in 2008.
Her sudden departure will add to the sense of upheaval at the agency as Britain investigates how what was once dubbed the “Seriously Flawed Office” by detractors, operates and selects which cases to fight.
It has faced persistent criticism over the way it handled some cases and for dropping a slew of credit crisis probes without prosecution.
“It has been a privilege to lead the SFO through a period of exceptional change during challenging times,” Williamson said in a statement yesterday.