Friday 17 July 2015 7:06 am

George Osborne ousts Martin Wheatley from FCA

Catherine Neilan is head of politics and investigations at City A.M.

Catherine Neilan is head of politics and investigations at City A.M.

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Martin Wheatley, the man who famously said he would "shoot first and ask questions later" as he launched the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has been ousted by chancellor George Osborne. 
Wheatley, who will leave on 12 September, jumped before he was pushed: City A.M understands he resigned after learning Osborne had decided not to renew his contract when it came up in March. 
Tracey McDermott will become acting chief executive while the FCA searches for a permanent replacement. 
Osborne said the government sought "different leadership" to take the FCA "to the next stage of its development". 
Osborne said: “The government is launching a worldwide search; Martin’s replacement will – like him – need to be passionate about protecting consumers, promoting competition and completing the job of cleaning up the City, so it is the best-regulated market in the world."
Wheatley said: “I am incredibly proud of all we have achieved together in building the FCA over the last four years. I know that the organisation will build on that strong start and work so that the financial services industry continues to thrive.”
 “I am pleased that we are able to call on someone of Tracey’s ability and stature to take up the post of acting chief executive. I am grateful to her for taking on this role and I know she will do a great job.”
John Griffith-Jones, chairman of the FCA said: "I and my board would like to thank him for his great efforts in setting up the organisation and for the contribution he has made to putting conduct so firmly at the top of the financial services agenda. We all wish Martin well and I am pleased that we will continue to benefit from his wisdom and expertise over the next few months."
Not everyone will be sad to see him go however. Wheatley has been criticised for the introduction of some key policies – not least the decision to reverse the burden of proof around risk-taking, effectively creating a "guilty until proven innocent" system. 
Though he insisted he did not want to "put heads on sticks" or go "scalp hunting", many within the industry have seen him as something of an adversary. 
That's not forgetting the time a botched press briefing caused shares in insurance companies to plunge, resulting in Wheatley and three others having their bonus revoked. There were also calls for his dismissal, but Wheatley insisted he was going nowhere.
Still it seemed that the writing was on the wall from that point on. The FCA was publicly reprimanded by Osborne and Wheatley and other executives grilled over the subject, with the departures of two of its senior team in the wake of the debacle.